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Teachers threaten strike over ‘culture of fear’ at Les Beaucamps High School

Les Beaucamps Photo: ITV News

Members of the NASUWT at Les Beaucamps School have threatened to strike next Tuesday (11th July) and Thursday (13th July).

It’s over what they call ‘poor management practices’ at the school and a ‘culture of fear’ which they say has left staff ‘fearing for their jobs’.

National Negotiating Official Wayne Bates said: 'The threat of industrial action was a last resort for members.'

We've taken the reluctant step to take industrial action at Les Beaucamps. Obviously this is quite unprecedented in the Channel Islands, we haven't taken the step lightly. We've been talking to the department for a couple of years now regarding the situation at the school.

– Wayne Bates, NASUWT National Negotiating Official

The NASUWT say there is no will from the Education Committee to get around the table to resolve the dispute they have with the senior management at the school.

What we need to see is some kind of tangible improvement at Les Beaucamps. One school stood out when we surveyed teachers earlier this year as really having issues, and that was Les Beaucamps, compared to most others. We put that to the department and this was around general poor management.

– Wayne Bates, NASUWT National Negotiating Official

The NASUWT described their main grievances for ITV News:

  • Excessive observations of teachers
  • Overuse of disciplinary procedures on staff
  • Staff feeling generally undervalued
  • A 'culture of fear' surrounding staff losing their jobs

The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture say they are "disappointed that the NASUWT has decided to propose this course of action at this time."

Education staff say they have been in talks with union officials about the specific details of the dispute for some time.

The States of Guernsey has referred the matter to the Industrial Disputes Officer and so "significant efforts are being made to resolve this without recourse to industrial action".

If the strike does go ahead, which would be deeply regrettable and contrary to Guernsey Law, measures will be put in place to ensure that the students remain supervised at all times and we hope to be able to minimise the disruption to any lessons. Additionally, whilst any disruption is to be avoided, the Committee can confirm that all GCSEs will have already finished by the proposed dates for industrial action.

– States of Guernsey, Committee for Education, Sport & Culture

The Committee does not wish to comment on the specific details of the dispute so that negotiations with union officials may continue over the coming days.