The Astrea Academy Trust has defended its "Morning Welcome" assembly that takes place at Longsands Academy.

A spokesperson said: "We know that removing Morning Welcome would set us back and slow the pace of improvement at Longsands.”

The "Morning Welcome", which takes place every day at the St Neots' school, is the driving force behind a two-day walk out at Longsands.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU), teachers at Longsands Academy and parents have staged a strike over the "Morning Welcome", which they described as "Draconian".

In response, Astrea said it is "truly saddening" that the strike has gone ahead.

Recommended Reading: Astrea Longsands School strike in St Neots on July 9

A spokesperson for Astrea said: "Lasting for five minutes, Morning Welcome gives us the opportunity to share any messages with the whole school - for instance about our values, or something that is happening in school that day.

"This is a far more efficient way of sharing messages consistently rather than asking all of our 50 different tutors to deliver that message during tutor time."

They said that the "Morning Welcome" gives the school "a brilliant opportunity" to celebrate students and their achievements, including "students of the week and sporting success".

The spokesperson said: "Recognising and appreciating our students is so important, particularly those who are modelling the right behaviours and attitudes.

"It is great for everyone to start the day in such an uplifting and positive way."

NEU members said that the "Morning Welcome" means they lose pastoral time with their students. 

A spokesperson for Astrea said: "The NEU want this time to be spent on internal departmental meetings, rather than on time with the students.

"And unfortunately, despite our best efforts to make a number of alternative suggestions about when departmental meetings could take place, the NEU have rejected all of these."