By Maggie Bremner
PROPOSALS to radically restructure the education system on the Isle of Wight, making 150 teachers redundant and slashing their redundancy pay, are facing opposition from the unions.
Steve Bynon, new Director of Children Services on the island, is attempting to push through proposals to shut middle and high schools on the island, replacing them with a new structure including a semi-private “Trust” which involves four high schools and the local college. Bynon wants to establish a reputation for innovation at the cost of workers’ terms and conditions and of the quality of education.
The first move is to cut existing redundancy payments to the statutory minimum provision. Union estimates of the effect of the new structure suggest around 150 redundancies. The council wants to limit the costs of this cull!
Unison members on the island have already lost their fight on this despite and support from the teacher unions.
So far, although the proposal has already been voted through by the island’s (mainly Tory) council, no detailed plans have been seen by the unions. Yet the changes are due to be introduced by 1 September this year.
The teachers’ unions NASUWT and NUT have now held well supported members’ meetings and are mobilising against the proposals
The restructuring proposal has not been supported by any consultation. Their argument, it would seem, has been that as only a small percentage replied, the who didn’t must therefore be in agreement! (Should the same principle be applied to council elections?)
Watch this space...