Union and Trust reach agreement over Thomas Bennett

Thomas Bennett Community College
Thomas Bennett Community College

The National Education Union (NEU) and The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT) have reached an agreement in the dispute over jobs at Thomas Bennett Community College.

After calling off planned strike action at the school, in Tilgate, earlier this week, the union has published a statement giving more details about the agreement reached with TKAT.

Regional officer Nick Childs said: “It’s important to note that this action is suspended pending the implementation of a Workload Charter.

“This charter will ensure safe levels of teacher workload in the school so that the students are properly supported.

“Our members voted for an improved offer on Friday after already winning concessions in April including the reinstatement of the sixth form provision, the school headteacher post and the special needs coordinator, as well as additional teaching assistants.

“The latest agreement with TKAT adds more qualified teaching resource to special educational needs provision, and makes a number of important commitments to improve members’ pay and conditions.

“Our negotiators also agreed that a formal review of the new structure will take place, specifically of SEN provision, in the autumn term.

“We will follow up on these commitments and will work positively with TKAT to this end.”

Alex Ramiz, English teacher and union representative at Thomas Bennett, said: “Our members voted for an improved offer in which TKAT have now committed to no further reductions in posts or redundancies for the next academic year.

“We are incredibly grateful for the inspirational work of the community support group, who have been out in force on the streets of Crawley with us demanding more for their young people.

“A major victory of the community campaign so far is that the county council have now pledged to fight for more power to intervene in academy schools in future and to have greater scrutiny of their finances and operations.

“I hope that the campaign will grow in strength as we all take the fight to government to get the increased funding for schools that is so desperately needed.

“There is still a wider recruitment and retention crisis, and there is still not enough money in schools in West Sussex.”

The National Education Union and TKAT released a joint statement on Monday (June 25) which said: “Following a meeting between the NEU and senior leaders from TKAT, the NEU have agreed to suspend their industrial action at Thomas Bennett Community College.

“As well as addressing the concerns of the staff at the school as requested by the NEU, TKAT have agreed to increase the SEN qualified teacher provision.

“The NEU and TKAT will be working closely together to ensure that we continue to provide sustainable, high-quality education for the students, so that they continue to grow in confidence and resilience.”