Ipswich School teachers continue to strike

Ipswich School teachers have again protested about proposed changes to their contracts, which may affect their pension

Ipswich School teachers have again protested about proposed changes to their contracts, which may affect their pension PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Strikes at a prestigious private school in Ipswich continued today, as school and staff are unable to reach an agreement over proposed changes to teaching contracts. 

For the second time in a week, members of the teaching unions NEU and NASUWT have gathered outside Ipswich School in Henley Road. 

Teachers gathered outside the school for the second time in a week. 

Teachers gathered outside the school for the second time in a week. PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Teachers are concerned that changes to their contracts may lead to them having to leave the Teachers' Pension Scheme.

Teachers are concerned that changes to their contracts may lead to them having to leave the Teachers' Pension Scheme. PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Members of the NEU and NASUWT took part in the strike on Tuesday

Members of the NEU and NASUWT took part in the strike on Tuesday. PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

They are concerned that proposed changes will force them to leave the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS). 

Speaking last week, headteacher Nicolas Weaver explained that the school wanted to “set limits on affordability,” and withdraw from the scheme if employer contributions were to rise in the future. 

Union representatives again voiced frustration at the school’s decision to act now, rather than waiting for changes to be announced. 

Keith Anderson, regional organiser for the NASUWT, said: “Any changes to the TPS won’t happen until 2024. All we’re saying is, wait until the re-evaluation takes place, then you’ve got all the information and therefore, you can make decisions based upon what you actually know rather than supposition. 

“These are professional teachers, and at the forefront of their mind is always the children they teach. They don’t want to be on strike, but they also have to think about their long-term future, and their families.” 

Teachers are frustrated with Ipswich School's decision to take action now, before an announcement has been made by the TPS.

Teachers are frustrated with Ipswich School's decision to take action now, before an announcement has been made by the TPS. PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Teachers are concerned that changes to their contracts may lead to them having to leave the Teachers' Pension Scheme

Teachers are concerned that changes to their contracts may lead to them having to leave the Teachers' Pension Scheme. PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

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Craig Tournay Godfrey, the Ipswich and South Suffolk District Secretary for the NEU, said that the school had met with staff and union representatives, but they had been unable to reach an agreement.  

However, he was feeling optimistic, saying: “Once they agree to negotiate with us, I think we could be close to an agreement.”  

Teachers are concerned that changes to their contracts may lead to them having to leave the Teachers' Pension Scheme

Teachers are concerned that changes to their contracts may lead to them having to leave the Teachers' Pension Scheme. PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Teachers are concerned that changes to their contracts may lead to them having to leave the Teachers' Pension Scheme

Teachers are concerned that changes to their contracts may lead to them having to leave the Teachers' Pension Scheme. PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Ipswich School said: “The school has held further meetings with the teaching unions (NEU and NASUWT) regarding the pensions dispute, and sadly we are struggling to come to an agreement with them.  

“As they control the dispute, they are proposing strike action on Tuesday March 8 and Wednesday March 9. 

“We have also met with our teaching staff and refined our proposals, and as a result, a significant number have decided that they will not be taking part in strike action.  

“As with last week, we will be open to all pupils on the industrial action days, with a full timetable of learning in place throughout the school. We remain committed to bringing the dispute to an end as soon as possible.”