Ballakermeen and St Ninian's students to work from home due to teaching dispute on the Isle of Man

Ballakermeen High School
Ballakermeen's headteacher says they are "unable to operate the school safely" with teachers not working during break times. Credit: Ballakermeen High School

Some students on the Isle of Man have been forced to work from home due to an ongoing dispute between The Department of Education, Sport and Culture (DESC) and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).

Students at Ballakermeen High School and St Ninian's High School received plans for year groups to work from home over the coming weeks.

It is the result of ongoing industrial action short of striking, by teachers who are members of the NASUWT union.

They are no longer covering breaks, and refusing to set or assess work to cover other teachers' absences. in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

The union say that teachers on the Isle of Man have been "taken for granted". Credit: PA Images

DESC had been organising breaking cover at schools, but said that continuing this is "not sustainable".

Yesterday, the department said the safety of students on the Isle of Man "can’t be guaranteed".

Ballakermeen headteacher Graeme Corrin wrote to parents today to inform them the school could not "operate safely" throughout the whole school day.

He said: "Due to the current situation with escalation of industrial action relating to a trade dispute, it will be necessary for specific year groups to complete a cycle of home learning.

"Despite a concerted effort to continue to operate as normal, we are currently unable to operate the school safely throughout the whole school day.

"This has left us with no option but to ask some of our students to study from home on specific days."

Years 7, 11 and Sixth Form will be able to attend everyday, but only one other year group a day will be able to be in school on a rotating schedule.

The new teaching schedule can be viewed here. It is set to run until the week commencing October 3.

In April, NASUWT said that there has been a "failure of the Manx Government to improve pay and tackle excessive workload".

They say there has been a 30% pay freeze since 2010 for Manx teachers.

St Ninian's High School in Douglas is reducing the number of students allowed in on a given day.

St Ninina's headteacher said they were "left with no other option" but to reduce the number of students in at the school. Credit: St. Ninian's High School

In a letter to parents, headteacher Chris Coole said: "I am going to have to request that each year group at our Lower School remain at home on the days stated in the table below for the next few weeks.

"Despite a concerted effort to explore all other sustainable solutions to this, the escalation in the industrial action means we are currently unable to operate the school safely throughout the whole school day which has left us with no other option."

For this week, Year 9 will remain at home on Wednesday, Year 8 on Thursday and Year 7 will stay at home on Friday.

Plans for year groups to stay home have been scheduled until week commencing October 17.

The headteacher added how the plans how been made to have "minimal disruption" for older pupils who are preparing for external examinations.

A spokesperson from the NASUWT said: "The DESC should urgently take the opportunity to engage in meaningful negotiations to seek to resolve this dispute.

"NASUWT members are continuing to focus on teaching and supporting pupils' education. Responsibility for any disruption in schools rests with the DESC."