AROUND 100 teachers from two Newport schools protested outside the Civic Centre voicing their concerns over cuts to school funding and the planned restructuring of staff.

Members of the NASUWT from Llanwern High School and Caerleon Comprehensive are taking further strike action over the restructuring of the schools’ middle management, which teachers say has left staff in tears because of the workload.

The restructuring could involve staff demotions and potential job loss, NASUWT said, adding that the restructuring was taking place "along the lines of the new curriculum."

"We're here because of the chronic underfunding of education in Newport, which has led to restructuring and, in the case of Llanwern, redundancies," said Neil Butler, national official of the teachers' union NASUWT Cymru.


"What they're doing is taking out, or demoting, the middle leader positions.

"These are the heads of department - the people responsible for setting the academic standards in these schools.

"By removing those people there's going to be a very serious impact on the education of children in Newport. Our members are angry enough to take action."

South Wales Argus:

(NEU officials Gareth Lewis, John Griffiths, Sarah Deasy, and Mairead Canavan.(L-R))

One teacher from Llanwern High School, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "We've been in the [Estyn] statutory category of 'significant improvement' for more than a year, and staff have worked exceptionally hard."

He said 'middle leaders' at the school had "been in tears because of the workload" to make those improvements.

Staff at Llanwern High were now being "hit with three job losses", he added.

"That's purely on a financial basis -- the workload is still there, the pupils are still there, but we've got fewer teachers to deal with it."

The NASUWT were joined outside the Civic Centre by members of the National Education Union (NEU).

South Wales Argus:

(Stephen Tull (left) with other teachers from Caerleon Comprehensive School.)

Stephen Tull, a teacher at Caerleon Comprehensive and member of the NEU, said the re-structuring of staff at the school would be "detrimental to pupils".

He said Newport City Council had reported the re-structuring would not mean any compulsory redundancies at Caerleon Comprehensive.

"What they are not reporting is the fact that heads of geography, history, and RE will all lose their extra responsibilities and up to £10,000 per year; and then be forced to re-apply for the same position," he said.

"There's no light at the end of the tunnel, and these things are just being pushed through, which is fundamentally unfair for the quality of teaching and [for] the pupils."

South Wales Argus:

(Teachers from Caerleon Comprehensive and Llanwern High School protesting outside the Civic Centre.)

The local authority expressed disappointment that the union members were striking this week. It said striking teachers would be reimbursed by the unions for loss of pay.

Both Llanwern High and Caerleon Comprehensive closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Llanwern High is also closed on Thursday.

"All public services across Wales have been affected by austerity," the council statement read.

"The NASUWT has informed us that the reason for their strike action is based upon staff restructuring, redundancy and potential job loss, however the council will try to mitigate this by seeking redeployment opportunities."