Schools face disruption as NUT teachers strike

Jul 10, 2014 by

Thousands of pupils in England and Wales are missing lessons on Thursday as members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) walk out on strike.


The strike is over changes to teachers’ pay, pensions and conditions.


It is being held alongside action by five other public sector unions. Other teachers’ unions are not taking part in the strike.


The Department for Education said there was no justification for the strike as talks with ministers were continuing.


Schools are closed across England and Wales, and many are partially open as head teachers make every effort to lessen the disruption to their pupils’ education.


But many parents have been left looking for emergency childcare or having to take the day off work.



In London about 600 schools are known to be affected, with 32 closed in Camden and 83 partly closed or completely shut in Barnet.

More than 100 schools are closed or partially closed in East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire, while in Bradford 105 are affected. Some 146 schools in the Leeds area alone are shut or partially shut.


In Manchester, about two thirds are closed and most in Liverpool are shut. But in Cheshire and Lancashire, the majority are open


In Brighton and Hove, 15 secondary and special schools are shut along with more than 50 primaries.


Some 79 schools are affected in Norfolk, and 30 in Luton.


At least 100 schools are closed in Essex, while in Cambridgeshire 27 are closed and 31 are partially closed.


In Gloucestershire, 58 schools are affected, while in Somerset 15 schools are closed with a further 13 partially open.


But many local authorities are not able to provide figures on closures as many council staff themselves are on strike.


The NUT walkout follows a national strike on 26 March. There were also regional strikes by the NUT and another teachers’ union, the NASUWT, in 2013.

‘Deep regret’

Protest rallies and marches are also taking place across England and Wales on Thursday.


General secretary Christine Blower said teachers “deeply regretted” having to take strike action.


“We are aware that this causes problems and disruption for parents and carers. However, despite months in talks with government officials, the real issues of our dispute over pay, pensions and conditions of service have not been addressed,” she said.


“Performance-related pay is not suitable for schools, which work in a collaborative fashion.


“While no teacher expects to work nine to five, many are working 60 hours a week and this is just not sustainable.


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“Expecting teachers to work until 68 for a pension will not only dismay teachers but also parents and pupils. Teaching… does require energy and fitness to cope with classrooms of 30 young children or teenagers.”


Ms Blower said the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, could avoid further disruption by “engaging in serious negotiations and making changes to policy”.

“Thousands of good, experienced teachers are leaving or considering leaving their job. Ofsted itself says that two in five teachers are leaving the profession in their first five years.”


This was a direct result of the government’s policies, she claimed.

‘No justification’

The DfE said the industrial action damaged the reputation of the profession, adding there was no “justification for further strikes”.


A spokesman said: “The unions asked for talks, we agreed to their request and talks are ongoing. Ministers have also met frequently with the unions and will continue to do so.


Teacher are angry at changes to pension, pay and conditions


“Further strike action will only disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.”


“That is why we are giving teachers more freedoms than ever and cutting unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy.”


The NUT has a membership in England and Wales of 330,700 and of these, 218,000 members are eligible to take strike action as they are active members of the teachers’ pension scheme.


Thursday’s strike action is covered by two ballots, the NUT said – one launched in May 2011 and the other in June 2012.


Turnout for the first ballot was 40%, with 92% of these members voting in favour of strikes; in the second, turnout was 27%, with 82.5% voting for strike action.

by Education News
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