Ballakermeen and St Ninian’s outline plans for students to work from home

Tuesday 20th September 2022 3:27 pm
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Ballakermeen High School in Douglas ()

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Ballakermeen High School and St Ninians High School have outlined plans for year groups to work from home over the coming weeks in the face of ongoing industrial action by teachers.

Ballakermeen Headteacher Graeme Corrin wrote to parents today to inform them the school could not ‘operate safely’ throughout the whole school day.

This comes after the Department of Education, Sport and Culture released a statement this morning stating that schools may be forced to close to certain year groups due to the ongoing pay dispute between the DESC and teachers’ union NASUWT.

The DESC asked the union to reconsider its action short of strike action, which means its members now refuse to cover break times.

Mr Corrin said in an online statement: ‘I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but due to the current situation with escalation of industrial action relating to a trade dispute, it will be necessary for specific year groups to complete a cycle of home learning.

‘Despite a concerted effort to continue to operate as normal, we are currently unable to operate the school safely throughout the whole school day. This has left us with no option but to ask some of our students to study from home on specific days.’

The arrangement specifies:

  • Year 8 and 9 remain at home on Wednesday 21st September
  • Year 8 and 10 remain at home on Thursday 22nd September
  • Year 9 and 10 remain at home on Friday 23rd September

The school intends to ensure that Year 7, 11 and sixth form students attend school every day. The new timetable spans to week commencing October 3.

For those students required to study at home, work will be available via the subject specific Google Classrooms. Teachers will also be available during normal timetabled lesson times to answer queries and provide guidance.

Mr Corrin added: ‘I fully appreciate the impact that this will have on our young people and families and I must apologise for the disruption.

‘I will keep you informed if we are able to make any changes to this arrangement and can only apologise again for having to make this request.’

St Ninians headteacher Chris Coole has also written a letter to parents.

He said: ‘It is with much regret that I am writing to inform you that the recent escalation of industrial action relating to a trade dispute between one of the teaching unions and the DESC means I am going to have to request that each year group at our Lower School remain at home on the days stated in the table below for the next few weeks.

‘Despite a concerted effort to explore all other sustainable solutions to this, the escalation in the industrial action means we are currently unable to operate the school safely throughout the whole school day which has left us with no other option.’

For this week, Year 9 will remain at home on Wednesday, Year 8 on Thursday and Year 7 will stay at home on Friday.

Plans for year groups to stay home have been scheduled until week commencing October 17.

Mr Coole added: ‘We have been able to put other mitigations in place on our upper school site which mean we are able to keep all upper school students studying for external exams on site safely with very minimal disruption to lessons for student in Year 10, 11, 12 and 13.

‘I fully appreciate the impact that this will have on our young people and families and I must apologise for the disruption that will occur. I will keep you informed if and when we are able to make any changes to this arrangement and can only apologise again for having to make this request.’

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