Strike ballot at college

Rye College

The National Education Union (NEU) has begun to ballot their members at Rye College over a restructure consultation that they say will drastically narrow the curriculum.

A public meeting has been setup on Zoom on Wednesday May 26 from 7pm, that parents, students and concerned community members can attend to discuss the plans. Register for the public meeting here:

A petition setup by a parent calling on Rye College to “not reduce their performing arts curriculum” has already collected over 1,500 signatures. The union has not until this point made any information public and is unaware of how parents have found out.

The school, which is part of the Aquinus Academy Trust based in Bromley, has proposed a restructure due to a forecasted deficit in the school budget, which is claims is due to reduced pupil numbers which it attributes to an “inadequate” Ofsted rating in 2018.

However, there are concerns that the restructure proposed will significantly reduce the provision of non-core subjects, such as drama, dance, design and technology, food technology and technical support for art.

School may become less attractive

The union argues that narrowing the curriculum in such a way will let down current students by limiting their subject choices, as well as make the school less attractive to prospective students, which will weaken the long-term sustainability of the school.

Phil Clarke, secretary of East Sussex NEU, said: “Industrial action is always a last resort for our members, but they are united in their opposition to this restructure of their school that not only threatens jobs, but also the quality and breadth of education students will receive.

“Children in this area deserve better than a curriculum that cuts out key technology and arts subjects. We are also very worried parents will vote with their feet and the school will lose further pupils rather than gain them. This would lead to a worse funding situation if the Aquinas Trust don’t offer a broad and balanced curriculum.

“The level of engagement in the petition that has sprung up suggests to me that parents value a wider education than simply the core subjects. We are asking the school to look again at their proposals and find ways to seriously reduce the impact this will have on the future sustainability of the school.”

Source: National Education Union

Image Credits: Rye News library .


  1. While it is true that some parents will be in a position to move their children, many will not have that option. Our education system is supposed to offer all of our children an equal opportunity toi develope thier own innate resources and to open their minds to the wide variety of opportunities that that life may hold for them.
    If the system actually delivers everyone benefits. Society is is enriched. So much is obvious.
    Yet, in the 15 years that we have lived in Rye we have witnessed the local schools take hammering after hammering. Sadly this appears to be another step in the painful process.

  2. My children attended Thomas Peacocke School, they both have fulfilling creative careers.
    My grandchildren travel from Hastings to attend Rye College and they are very happy there however the proposed cuts to creative subjects mean that they are considering leaving.
    The cuts being planned by Aquinas seem like a shot in the foot as they are likely to drive away many talented students and pupil numbers will inevitably fall in future years.
    Rye is a vibrant and creative town, the education on offer should reflect this.


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