Pupils stay home as teachers strike
5:30am Tuesday 25th March 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
A NUMBER of schools in Swindon are set to close for the day tomorrow, with many more only running a handful of lessons, as the country’s biggest teaching union stages a one-day strike.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is staging the protest over pay and working conditions, meaning many parents will be forced to find alternative arrangements for their children.
Most secondary schools are affected along with some of the town’s primary schools. Isambard, Churchfields, Dorcan and Royal Wootton Bassett Academy will be entirely closed with many others closed to certain year groups.
Among the primary schools, Nythe and Lainesmead will also be closed for the day.
Due to an agreement between unions, teachers who are not part of the strike action are not providing cover and schools are also unable to bring in temporary teachers.
As a result, it has been decided they are not in a position to provide safe cover.
The strike is part of an ongoing campaign aiming to improve conditions for teachers, which have left many planning on leaving the profession. Many members who are taking action will be joining a mass rally in Bristol, similar to the action taken last October.
Union leaders have said they are taking action reluctantly but it is necessary to secure quality education for the long term.
Peter Smith, secretary of the Swindon division of the NUT, said: “In a survey which the government sat on for almost a year it has been revealed the workload some teachers have to carry out, with some not being able to see their families because of what they have to do.
“Two out of five teachers new to the profession are considering leaving after a few years with many more who have worked longer considering leaving.
“We are taking this action to secure the future of education, which at the moment is suffering. I understand it may be frustrating for some parents but it is better teachers withdraw their labour for one day rather than permanently.
“The new pay and pension changes also mean teachers will be paid less and get less at the end of it. A lot of teachers are getting more and more angry with Michael Gove. We want him to enter into serious negotiations but as it stands only officials are coming down to talk about how they can be implemented. We want this action to be a serious message to the government.”
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