Harold Hill school trust claims to address 'misinformation' in open letter amid restructure dispute

NEU Havering

Support staff taking part in the strike action with NEU national executive member for outer London, Dominic Byrne, at the front - Credit: John Delaney

An open letter from the leadership of a Harold Hill school claims to address “misinformation and assumptions” about strikes amid a support staff dispute.  

Draper’s Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) chief executive officer, Bashra Nasir, published the letter on July 7 in response to ongoing strike action at Drapers’ Pyrgo Priory School.

The National Education Union (NEU) says a proposed restructure would see some staff "losing £400 a month” amid the cost-of-living crisis.

In the letter, Mrs Nasir said the support staff restructure at Pyrgo Priory “needed to be carried out to address historical inequality issues”, and to maximise learning opportunities and wellbeing of pupils, while addressing a fall in pupil numbers in the last few years.  

She listed a number of changes, including job descriptions being reconsidered, hours revised - with some roles seeing hours increased - and clarification of responsibilities.  

This comes as NEU members at the Harold Hill school are set to strike again for the next three days (July 12 to 14).  

The letter claims 10 support staff and five teachers are taking part in the industrial action.  

NEU district secretary for Havering, John Delaney, accused Mrs Nasir of writing “inaccurately and misleadingly” about the dispute.

He is referring to a line in the letter which says "if no staffing restructure takes place, then staffing costs at Pyrgo Priory for 2022/23 are projected to be at 80.7 per cent of income, which is too high and is not sustainable".

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John alleged 80.7pc is misleading as it “refers to teaching staff as well as support staff”.  

Mrs Nasir said the expected saving from the restructure is around £38k per year from September 2022, and could even rise to approximately £60k from September 2024 once "safeguarding" of higher salaries comes to an end.  

She said the restructuring is affecting other staff, with the departing assistant vice principal not being replaced after August 31 and the school leadership team being reviewed – all in a bid to reduce costs in order to operate within lower levels of funding due to “the falling roll situation”.  

John said strikes will continue and the dispute will only be resolved “by withdrawing the restructure and finding another way to make the savings required by the MAT finances”.