New Blue Coat headteacher speaks out as strikes continue into second week

Teachers on a picket line outside The Blue Coat School in Liverpool
Teachers on a picket line outside The Blue Coat School in Liverpool -Credit:Liverpool Echo

The new headteacher at a crisis-hit Liverpool grammar school has spoken for the first time as staff strikes continue into a second week.

Kevin Sexton has been installed as the interim principal of the Liverpool Blue Coat School, which has been rocked by chaos in recent years - including the dramatic resignations of its last two headteachers.

Problems at the school have resulted in staff members taking part in strike action as the protest against the way the school is being led, workloads and culture. The first two strikes took place last week, with further walk-outs today, on Thursday and into June.

MORE: 'No more lies' say Blue Coat staff as they take their fight to the picket line

MORE: Strikes, fights and sackings: Five years of chaos at Liverpool's most prestigious school

The school's problems were added to last week when its chair of trustees resigned. It is hoped that Mr Sexton, who is the current head of Chesterfield High School in Crosby, will start to steady a rocking ship.

In his first comments, Mr Sexton said: "We appreciate how deeply frustrating the ongoing dispute is for our students and their parents, and we are working tirelessly to find a way forward with our staff and the National Education Union (NEU).

“Today we been in discussion with the NEU’s Regional Officer and have put a number of possible meeting times to him so we can meet over the course of this week to discuss concerns face-to-face.

“I am grateful that the NEU has found time to meet on Friday, and our hope is that we can use this time to discuss a document that has been prepared that addresses each of the core points that they have raised with.

He added: “Once that meeting has concluded, we would like to share our proposed response to the NEU with our community. We genuinely want to find a resolution, and are doing all that we are legally able to draw an end to this ongoing situation.”

The Blue Coat School in Liverpool
The Blue Coat School in Liverpool -Credit:Liverpool Echo

The NEU has said its members will continue with its walk-outs unless major changes are made at a school which now has its last two headteachers under investigation by the Teacher Regulation Agency.

Union leaders criticised school bosses for their approach to negotiations so far.

Regional officer Bora Oktas said: “Our members have been waiting for weeks for the employer to return to the negotiation table. Unfortunately, there has been only one ACAS meeting over the last two months, and the employer failed to attend the scheduled meeting last week without explanation or apology.”

“The recent resignation of the Chair of Trustees — the sixth in the last six years — has further exacerbated the situation. The employer’s insistence on portraying ACAS-led negotiations as successful demonstrates a disconnect from reality and undermines their credibility. No wonder eighty five parents have signed a letter demanding that the school engage with the NEU and work towards a swift resolution of the ongoing dispute.”

Karen Copsey, joint-assistant branch secretary of Liverpool NEU, added: “Our members have spoken loud and clear. The stress levels at The Blue Coat School are unsustainable. We want to ensure that our educators can focus on what matters most: providing quality education to our students.

“Our members love their jobs, but they need the support and resources to do them effectively. Their students deserve the best, and that starts with ensuring our teachers and staff are well-supported.”

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