Strike warning to students

By Emily Pearce

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

 

Strike warning to students

Cowes Enterprise College students on strike. Picture by Robin Crossley.

A REPEAT of the student strike at Cowes Enterprise College could result in students being excluded from school.

In a letter to parents posted on the school website yesterday (Monday), Rebecca Pearce said students had been allowed to hold a peaceful demonstration on the school field last Friday, protesting against proposed teacher job and pay cuts.

But she has warned that any repeat of Friday’s actions would be dealt with extremely seriously.

As previously reported, 26 support staff and five teachers are facing redundancy as school bosses look to cut a projected budget deficit of almost £900,000, blamed partly on falling student numbers.

On Friday, after registration, hundreds of students poured out of class, waving banners and shouting 'save our teachers.'

In yesterday’s letter to parents, Ms Pearce said: "After the initial period of protest, the strength of student opinion became more apparent. It also became evident that a small minority of students were more concerned with causing issues, rather than 'protesting peacefully.'

"A very small bonfire was lit and extinguished immediately by a member of staff. This incident will be dealt with appropriately, as will that of furniture moving.

"Our aim throughout the day was to ensure the safe supervision of students involved in the protest. As the day progressed, more and more students returned to their lessons.

"I want to apologise for the lack of communication with parents. In hindsight, I can see that this was too little, too late. Our immediate concern at the time was the safety and supervision of the students.

"I want to make clear the press were asked to leave the site immediately until someone from the college was able to make a statement. The situation was, in fact, exacerbated by the presence of the press and by some comments made by a small number of onlookers.

"In terms of the future, what is paramount now is that the college returns to its normal level of high expectations and focus on learning. Any repeat of Friday’s actions will now be dealt with extremely seriously and could result in exclusion from the college.

"I would appreciate if all parents and carers could support the college in reinforcing this letter, and in so doing, helping us to ensure that the college returns to the normal levels of conduct and discipline that are normally in place."

A consultation on the staff restructure would continue until May 2, and no decisions had yet been made. Staff, students and parents were welcome to make their views known and voice any concerns, she said.

Reporter: emilyp@iwcpmail.co.uk

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