Teachers at an 'inadequate' academy in Bexleyheath are ditching the classroom today to strike over proposed job cuts.

Bexleyheath Academy has endured a difficult 2019 after being criticised by inspectors who demanded that drastic improvements needed to be made.

Teachers, teaching assistants and other workers are striking today in opposition to a plan to axe 27 staff members.

The secondary school is managed by Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) who reportedly want to reduce 13 teaching assistants to just four.

It is feared that disabled students will not have the support they need if the sackings are implemented.

Debbie Jones, Bexley District Secretary of the NEU, said: "AET are treating loyal, hardworking staff very badly.

"We have been asking them since March to give a commitment that there will be no compulsory redundancies.

"Unfortunately, every request we have made has been rejected. Consequently, our members have been left with no choice other than to take strike action."

News Shopper reported in February how Ofsted slammed the academy after inspectors found pupils had been partaking in homophobic and racist bullying.

READ: Bexleyheath Academy slammed by Ofsted with worst inspection rating

A letter sent by Ofsted in May however indicated that leaders were taking "effective action" towards the removal of special measures.

Five further strikes are confirmed unless an agreement is reached, which will take place on September 25 and 26 and October 1, 2 and 3.

A spokesperson for Academies Enterprise Trust said: "We were very sorry to see that the NEU has called its members out on strike. As far as we are concerned, one day lost to education is one day too many. Fortunately the vast majority of our teachers agreed with this and only a small number took part in the strike.

 "It is particularly disappointing that the union has taken this action though, as earlier in the summer they had agreed with us enhanced redundancy payments for staff who opted for voluntary redundancy, but the union then decided to come back asking for even more.

"What’s more, the strike is based on a ballot that took place last academic year on an earlier proposal for restructuring. This means that the ballot is actually based on votes from members of staff who no longer even work at the academy.

"This type of action helps no one - it is damaging to children’s education and it is hugely disruptive for parents. We have made clear to the union that we anticipate that there will be minimal compulsory redundancies so their action is unnecessary and disproportionate.

"We would ask that the NEU think again about the further days of proposed action. Bexleyheath Academy has improved significantly under the leadership of Dr David Moody and Graeme Napier, and we will do everything we can to ensure the disruption to our students’ education is minimised by keeping the school open.

"As such, the academy will be open as normal for all year groups throughout the remaining strike days, and we look forward to welcoming people to our Open Days on 24 and 25 September so they can see for themselves the positive impact of the changes that have been made."