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School leaders on the Isle of Man to recommence industrial action short of strike

Members of NAHT, the union which represents leaders in every school on the Isle of Man, will be recommencing industrial action short of strike from midnight on Monday 7th September.


NAHT has served notice to the Department of Education, Sport and Culture (DESC) that the action will be taking place.


Action was paused when the Covid-19 pandemic struck back in March, with school leaders and their teams working tirelessly to ensure that schools remained open to children of keyworkers and the most vulnerable pupils.


The industrial action remained paused following the full re-opening of schools whilst talks between the Department for Education, Sport and Culture (DESC) and the trade unions, under the auspices of the Manx Industrial Relations Service (MIRS), took place on the 13 and 24 July.


Despite these talks, the DESC has failed to resolve a long-standing dispute over pay. In the July meetings, no further pay offers were tabled and no further talks have been offered.


NAHT members held a union meeting and consulted widely with its members following the meetings with DESC in July and members voted overwhelmingly to recommence action short of strike at the beginning of the new academic year.


Rob Kelsall, NAHT National Secretary, said: “School leaders and their teams have made superhuman efforts during the pandemic in order to ensure that the education of children and young people on the Isle of Man has continued.


“It was very disappointing to learn in our last meeting with the DESC in July that despite this and the progress made previously in talks, that they had no appetite to resolve the dispute. We only take industrial action as a last resort, and the action our members will be taking is designed to have maximum impact on DESC, not pupils and families.”


The resumption of action follows an official industrial action ballot earlier in the year in which 96 per cent of NAHT school leader members voted that they would be prepared to take industrial action short of strike, and 87 per cent said they were prepared to strike.


Max Kelly, of NAHT’s Isle of Man Branch, said: “Our aim throughout this dispute has been to put the needs of children and young people first. Without proper investment in the island’s teachers and leaders, the world class education we all crave for our pupils cannot become a reality.


“It came as a significant blow to our members that despite going above and beyond during the pandemic, they learnt before the end of the summer term that the DESC had nothing to offer in order to settle the pay dispute. Our members strength of feeling and unity means that we will now be recommencing industrial action.


“I would urge the DESC to make arrangements as matter of urgency for us to meet with them again and bring a credible offer to the table in order to settle this pay dispute.”

Education unions on the Isle of Man have been in dispute with the DESC over pay since the beginning of 2019. Teachers and school leaders on the Isle of Man have been forced to accept 10 years of below-inflation pay awards, amounting to real-terms pay cuts. Despite the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) recommending a pay rise of 3.5% for all teachers and leaders in 2018/19, the island’s government has refused to award the full amount to all staff.

Industrial action short of strike will include:

• Non-attendance at any meetings initiated by DESC/IOM Government (E.g. Senior Leaders meetings, Primary and Secondary heads, co-ordinators meetings, moderators meetings, working parties etc) excluding child protection, emergency response to coronavirus, and pay negotiations

• Non-engagement with moderation of any kind, including appraisal, and refusal to act as a moderator

• Non-engagement with any appraisal policies for staff, unless it affects pay progression (including SLT/support staff/PSC staff)

• Non-engagement with the SSRE process, including link visits and refusal to update and maintain the SSRE document, other than that required by the provisions of section 51 of the Education Act 2001.

• Non-engagement/refusal to participate in any surveys or questionnaires • Refusal to produce Head teacher’s Reports for Governors’ meetings

• Refusal to participate in the SPP programme

• Refusal to engage in DESC/IOM government directed INSET

• Refusal to undertake supply interviews

• Refusal to introduce new initiatives and programmes into school as directed by DESC/IOM Government.

• Refusal to disseminate information or training to staff directed by, or on behalf of DESC/IOM Government, unless it relates to child protection or an emergency response to coronavirus.

• No submission and analysis of assessment data

• No participation in formal lesson observations (other than issues relating to performance and those necessary for NQTs)

• No participation in staff meetings where the agenda relates to government initiatives other than safeguarding or an emergency response to coronavirus.

• No submission of planning

• Adherence to appendix seven of the Isle of Man teachers’ terms and conditions (administrative and clerical tasks)

• No involvement in working parties or moderation, including being a moderator.

• No participation in questionnaires, audits and surveys initiated by the DESC or government departments
• No engagement with the education improvement service other than legitimate matters of safeguarding or an emergency response to coronavirus.

• No attendance at training events beyond the school day unless it affects our members’ professional development.

• No engagement in appraisal, unless it affects pay progression

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363

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