Home‎ > ‎

Leaways School Dispute in Hackney

posted 22 Apr 2021, 02:54 by Gerald Clark
Members of the National Education Union have been in dispute with Leaways School which is run by Kedleston Group SEMH and Autism Schools and Children's Homes UK (kedlestongroup.com) since December of last year over a number of issues. These include: poor educational provision for students; appalling conditions in the school building; a lack of decent sick pay; a refusal to award the 2.75 percent pay increase most education workers received last year and a refusal to recognise trade unions.

The school receives over £50,000 per pupil, per year, which is more than double the amount that state special schools receive.  Members have been concerned that the provision provided for students does not reflect this. There is no outside recreation area for children to play and the temperature of the building during winter has been so cold that staff and students frequently wore coats inside.  Meanwhile, the Kedleston Group had an operating profit of £5.3 million in 2019 (Source: Companies House).

The NEU believes that claims made on the school’s website about the educational provision of students do not match the actual reality of provision inside the school. Several parents have also been in contact with us expressing similar concerns.

NEU members have been particularly worried about health and safety issues, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Kedleston sick pay policy only guarantees 7 days sick, pay unlike state schools which allow for up to 100 days. Staff have had to either attend work whilst sick or only receive statutory sick pay. This has forced some members of staff to attend work, whilst sick.

Kedleston group even tried to enforce this policy at the beginning of the pandemic informing staff that they would only receive sick pay for 7 days if contracting Covid or if they had to self-isolate. It was only after protests from NEU members that they agreed to adhere to government recommendations regarding sick pay and covid.

The NEU is extremely concerned at the level of bullying and intimidation by senior managers at the school. Two members of staff have been dismissed since the start of the dispute - the most recent being one of the school NEU reps. Several other members and reps have also been disciplined. Kedleston have also suggested to NEU members that if the original dispute were not called off, after 12 weeks staff could be dismissed ‘en masse’.

NEU members had no choice but to ballot again on the issue of victimisation.