A Catholic school in Croydon has been forced to close for the day as teachers take to the picket line to protest the sacking of governors after they raised concerns about a decision to cancel an LGBT author’s book talk.

John Fisher School in Peaks Hill was pushed to cancel a planned visit from a gay author in March by the archdiocese of Southwark. Governors who opposed the move were sacked by the archdiocese.

Now the National Education Union (NEU) is calling for author Simon James Green to be invited back to the school to talk about his novel, Noah Can’t Even, which features a gay character.

Dozens of staff gathered outside the school gates holding signs saying “reinstate the governors” on Thursday morning. 

President of the NEU Daniel Kebede said members “had no option” and called on the diocese to re-invite Mr Green to the school.

He tweeted: “We really wanted to avoid this at John Fisher School but the diocese have left no option.

"Reinstate the governors at John Fisher School. re-invite Simon James Green. Defend LGBT education. Our members are strong.”

Headteacher Philip McCullagh said the school would be closed on the day of the strike in a letter to parents.

He said: “The school has been informed by the National Education Union (NEU) that members will be taking industrial action on Thursday. As chair of governors, I have been in contact with representatives from the NEU to explore a negotiated settlement.

“Due to the significant number of staff members who will not be at work on Thursday the school will not be able to open for students on this day.”

The strike comes in the same week Ofsted published a letter which said the incident had caused many in the school community to become “unnerved and upset”.

It praised the school’s response and said pupils are being given extra guidance to “make sense of recent events”.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the archdiocese said the it has written to Ofsted to review the report.

It said: “Respect for the God-given dignity of each human life sits at the heart of Catholic education and respect is a two-way street.

"Literature that insults the faith, which in the case of Mr Green’s book was a highly sexualised re-writing of the Lord’s Prayer, understandably causes offence to many Christians, and as such has no place in a Catholic school.

“It is important that the school can now move on from this, and the Diocesan Education Commission will continue to work with the local authority, governing body, unions, and senior leaders at The John Fisher, in the best interest of parents, pupils and all members of staff.”