College strike avoided

Rye College, as children and young people return to classrooms

The National Education Union (NEU) has confirmed that potential strike action at Rye College has been called off after a dispute over a restructure has been resolved with the school’s management.

The NEU had balloted its members for strike action over the threat of redundancies at the school, with 87% of its members voting in favour of strike action.

The union had argued that as well staff losing their jobs, the original proposal would have significantly narrowed the curriculum.

Now, after parent petitions, pupil protests and the union ballot, management have confirmed that drama and dance will remain on the curriculum as subjects taught by specialists and have addressed NEU concerns over jobs.

Phil Clarke, joint NEU East Sussex secretary said: “We are delighted to announce that we have resolved our dispute with the Aquinas academy trust without needing to resort to taking strike action.

“We understand the trust is investing significant additional funds into the school, which means key arts and technology provision will be maintained and no member of the National Education Union is being forced into redundancy.

“Our members being ready to take strike action if necessary, and the campaigning of parents and pupils, has shown how highly the community value a broad and balanced curriculum. This has led to an outcome we believe is better for current and future pupils.”

At a public meeting in May that was held on Zoom by the NEU, around 75 members of the public attended and expressed concerns regarding the potential for the restructure to lead to fewer subject choices in arts subjects and the lack of engagement with parents during the process. A petition setup by a parent garnered 1,800 signatures and protests were held by pupils.

Phil Clarke added: “It has been very useful to have had good communication with management during the dispute who have engaged with us positively to resolve it. We now urge parents to take the energy they have shown in their campaigning and proactively engage with the school going forward to ensure local voices are heard”.

Image Credits: Nick Forman .


  1. This is great news for the pupils, teachers and the town itself and thank you to all those involved in getting to this point! Not only will the pupils be able to continue with drama, dance and the other subjects which were due to be cut but it will also develop their life skills in a more varied way and help their mental well being which in itself will lead to better results in the more general subjects!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here