Lyon Park Primary School strikers appeared to be in good spirits and showing strong solidarity on the fifth day of their strike over worsening conditions of service as a result of a staff restructuring.
The school management is expected to come to the negotiating table with fresh proposals on Monday morning in an effort to reach a settlement.
If these don't succeed I understand there will be an approach to ACAS on Wednesday.
When I spoke to parents outside the school last week during a leafleting session aimed at informing them of the impact of the restructure, they were keen to say how much they appreciated the work of support staff. Many talked about the good relationship between staff and pupils, and between parents and the support staff. They told me about the support their children received and how important it was to children with special educational needs or those new to the country at an early stage of leaning English. They acknowledged the impact of the strike on them and their children but also saw that short-term hurt was better than the long-term damage that would follow if the staff did not stand up against the changes. Support staff were an important part of the local community.
Lyon Park staff took their struggle to Westminster on Wednesday, Autumn Statement day, when they spoke to an NEU Rally calling for an increase in school funding. Inadequate school funding in the face of rising costs is at the heart of the budget crisis in many London schools, including Lyon Park.
A petition has been launched calling on governors to not cut pay and change working conditions:
We are signing this petition to ask you to value our experienced support staff at Lyon Park and to ask you NOT to cut their pay and not to force teaching assistants to cover [teacher absence] if they are not paid as a higher level teaching assistant.