TEACHERS at Croydon's worst performing secondary school have gone on strike this morning as a row over lesson observations rumbles on. Staff at Westwood Girls' College for Language and Arts, in Upper Norwood, will picket the school gates on Thursday morning - a fortnight after they first walked out because too many lessons are being monitored. The industrial action means children from Years 7, 8 and 9 have been asked to do work at home, with the school remaining open for older pupils who have exams. Christopher Everitt, interim head teacher, said: "It is incredibly sad that most students will miss out on their education as a result of this and that parents will be inconvenienced. "Teachers here have the potential not only to bring the school out of special measures, but also to deliver a first class education. "But this cannot happen unless the unions allow us to give them the support and training they need, including by sitting in on their lessons so we can see where they need extra help and guidance." Teachers voted to strike on three separate days because too many of their lessons are being observed. Westwood is in the process of becoming an academy, sponsored by the Harris Federation, after being placed in "special measures" by Ofsted last November. Only 35 per cent of pupils left last summer with five or more good GCSEs - less than any other school in Croydon. Mr Everitt wanted to conduct fresh lesson observations after being appointed at the beginning of this term, but a number of teachers have already been monitored three times this academic year. The NUT and NASUWT unions have urged staff to stick to that statutory limit. Unsuccessful talks were held between the school and unions this week in hope of resolving the issue. Claudine Reid, chairman of governors said: "We have continued in good faith to talk to the unions and met with them on Tuesday. "We have explained to them that Ofsted placed the school into special measures and that the students here deserve the best possible education. "However, as part of their wider dispute with the Government, they are choosing to continue with their strike action." The unions said constant observations are placing teachers under too much pressure, and that every effort has been made to ensure the strikes cause as little disruption to pupil's exam preparation as possible. The last day of strike action is scheduled to take place on June 18.
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