The Co-op Academy in Swinton has seen over 30 members of staff go on strike, in support of the 276 parents who have signed a petition against the ‘unfair’ and ‘intimidating’ new school rules.
These rules include searching pupils’ bags every morning to check that they have the right equipment, having extremely high standards for school shoes, and, according to some parents, giving children ‘limited’ time to eat their dinners and not allowing enough toilet breaks.
One parent from Swinton has explained that her daughter has just joined year seven: “She already hates school as she tries to have time off every morning just so she doesn’t have to feel the effect of the bag searches and stuff. She’s a shy girl and finds it very intimidating.
“My family helped me to get her new shoes for the year, she wore them on the first day and was told she could no longer wear them. I don’t have money to replace these.”
This parent explained how she “completely agrees” with the teachers going on strike for two days last week, and now “there will be a different year group in each week” due to the lack of teachers. She hopes this results in a change of school rules.
“She is already asking to change schools after only being there for four weeks. My daughter has come home many times saying there has been nothing left to eat at dinner, so she ended up with a biscuit, or when she got to the front [of the dinner queue] the bell went for her to go back to lesson, so she didn’t even have time to go to the toilet.
“It does need sorting, as our children have missed out on so much already with Covid-19, and having the stress of that, and now the stress of this.”
The Co-op Academies Trust has released a statement on their website regarding these strikes, where they have stated: “Any lessons that have been missed as a result of the strike will be put back into the timetable this year. We’ll also make sure that there is no further loss of learning time…it’s still important that every child has a valuable learning experience.
“The strike has absolutely no link to recent communication regarding trainers, school rucksacks or food provision and is solely based upon issues with form time and the curriculum within that form time.
“I care about every single young person that comes through our doors each and every day, it’s important that we provide them with the tools to be their very best and reach their full potential.”