Teachers strike after LGBT author Simon James Green school talk axed by Southwark Archdiocese
Teachers at a Catholic secondary school have gone on strike after Southwark Archdiocese axed a planned talk by LGBT author Simon James Green.
The protest forced the school in Croydon to close for the day as staff lined up in solidarity with the author outside the gates.
Mr Green was invited to the school for World Book Day in March to talk about his novel Noah Can’t Even, which features a gay character.
But Southwark Archdiocese said in a statement that "from time to time, materials and events emerge for consideration that fall outside the scope of what is permissible in a Catholic school".
Several school governors resigned and the archdiocese later sacked the rest. On Thursday, students joined teachers on the 'proud picketline'.
"Today National Education Union members from John Fisher school are striking over my banned school visit and their sacked governors," Simon James Green said.
"They’re standing up for LGBT students everywhere who need to see the reality of their lives in books.
"Please show them how much support they have," he added.
A report by school watchdog Ofsted said the decision by Southwark Archdiocese had "unnerved and upset many in the school community".
It added: “Some leaders, staff and pupils have been left feeling angry, confused and frustrated. Others are worried about the impression these events might give of the school’s ethos.”
It praised the leadership team, who had fully supported Mr Green’s visit, for “steering the school well through this difficult time”.
An National Education Union spokesperson said: "Acas talks are ongoing, and the NEU remains open to continuing discussions to reach a settlement to this dispute that would see the reinstatement of the former foundation governors and the reinstatement of the visit to the school by the author Simon James Green.
"Those are the expectations of our members. The next day of planned strike action is for 4 May should no agreement have been reached."