Quest Academy: strike over redundancies

Quest Academy. Image: Quest Academy Website.

Three teaching assistants and two teachers at Quest Academy, previously Selsdon High School, have been made redundant with only one month’s notice. On Thursday staff voted overwhelmingly in support of strike action which could start the week after next. Graham Cluer from the teachers unions NASUWT told EastLondonLines:”Every other school in Croydon would have spoken to their staff months in advance”.

Philip Burley, the Chair of Govenors, said in a statement:

“It is a great shame that staff have voted in favour of a strike.  We are not an independent school able to raise fees and are entirely governed by the income we receive from the Department of Education and, like all other organisations in the public sector, these redundancies are largely due to the current economic situation.

” Since taking over Selsdon High School less than a year ago, we have done everything possible to preserve jobs. (…) We deeply regret the necessity to make staff redundancies at this time, but as we have explained to all concerned, we are left with no alternative.”

Cluer argues that, instead of investing in staff, the academy had spent money on “making the place look better”. The school had been “in a state” for a while but not because of the teaching but because of poor management. The staff had worked hard to “turn the place round”, he said.

Cluer will meet Andy Crofts, the Principal of Quest Academy, early next week in a final bid to avoid the strike action. Meanwhile, the staff who have been given redundancy notice have received a better offer so Cluer hopes that this “glimmer” will give him “something to talk about” in the meeting and, as he hopes, make the academy reconsider and “ideally withdraw the redundancies”.

In a statement, the principal said: “(W)e have looked very carefully at how we can ensure that pupils in the school receive the best possible education.  It is regrettable that there is a significant cut in income for next year, and although we have tried very hard to stretch resources as much as we can, they can’t stretch anymore.”

The Academy endeavour to: “continue to deliver improvements over the next years” and would be “looking forward to good examination results in the summer”.

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