Staff call off strike action at one of Liverpool's most prestigious schools

A picket line outside The Blue Coat School in Liverpool - a number of teachers hold banners and flags
-Credit: (Image: Liverpool Echo)

Strike action at prestigious Liverpool grammar school The Blue Coat has been called off.

National Education Union (NEU) members at the troubled Wavertree school have voted to suspend what would have been the 5th and 6th days of industrial action across the summer academic term. Strikes which were planned for June 12 and 13 will no longer take place.

Staff had walked out as they protested against recent issues, which have seen two headteachers resign amid investigations.

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

READ MORE: Police car crashes outside Aldi on way to 999 call

The NEU has said the decision to halt the strike follows a "successful campaign that led to the departure of senior school figures and new industrial relations arrangement which has resulted in the signing of a resolution agreement."

The union adds that the agreement "addresses deeply and widely felt issues related to accountability, transparency, bullying, harassment, and health and safety concerns."

Bora Oktas, regional officer of the NEU, stated, “This achievement is a testament to our members and the many parents who supported us by visiting the picket lines and petitioning the employer. So much was at stake. By compelling the new leadership team to reflect on too many chaotic and challenging months, our members have ensured that their voices are heard, and pupils will receive the necessary resources and facilities.”

Peter Middleman, regional secretary of the NEU, added: “It will come as a relief to many in the Liverpool education community – not least local parents, carers and students - that such a prestigious city establishment now has the opportunity to move on from a discredited recent past.

"Though there is more work to do, our members are stronger for their recent experience, and we look forward to equipping and enabling them to articulate a strong collective, professional voice in the challenges ahead.”

Last week, the ECHO reported that the new headteacher of The Blue Coat School had said he hoped his new approach to the job would address staff concerns and end strike action at the crisis-hit school.

Kevin Sexton told the ECHO: "I was asked to see if I could support the school. I looked at the issues and thought that through my experience in schools and through my previous work as a trade union rep that I could help to resolve this and hopefully get children back into school every day, which is what we do as teachers.

"I am not working on any aspect of the previous headteachers' work, but what I am doing is looking at how we open communication between leaders and staff. At the present time, post-covid, that has become more important in schools and I think that's where we have lost a lot of things in translation as things have moved forward."

In a statement, Kevin Sexton, Blue Coat principal, and Sean Fitzsimmons, the school's chair of trustees, said: “There is no denying that this has been a particularly challenging period for our school – and there have been times, for all of us, that it felt like finding a way forward was going to be incredibly challenging.

“That is why we are so pleased that the NEU has agreed to suspend any future strike action.

“Over recent weeks, the school has put a number of detailed and considered responses to the NEU over the concerns that have been raised. These give a strong platform of agreed actions to ensure that we are not just talking, but we are now in a position to make tangible progress.

“Of course, we all must now continue to do what has been agreed. This is, however, a very important milestone and ensures that there is no further disruption for our brilliant students.

“It is important to thank of all of our staff for their continued hard work, as well as acknowledge our school leaders, including the trustees, for the considerable work they have put into helping us collectively get to this outcome.”

The Liverpool Daily Post newsletter delves into the biggest stories on Merseyside

Win a 55" Hisense TV and American-style fridge-freezer worth £2,200 to enhance your UEFA Euro experience