Lessons cancelled as teachers strike


- Credit: Archant

CLASSROOMS and playgrounds across North Somerset will be empty tomorrow (Thurs) as scores of teachers go on strike.

Thousands of children and teenagers will not be able to attend lessons, with parents having to take a day off work or arrange childcare.

As part of a national dispute, industrial action is taking place across the South West with members of the two biggest teaching unions participating.

In North Somerset, all secondary schools will be closed or only open to a couple of year groups.

In a letter to parents, Gordano School headteacher Gary Lewis said: “I am not allowed to direct any members of staff who are not striking to cover the classes of absent colleagues or fulfil any of their supervisory duties in their absence, nor am I able to bring in staff from outside the school to undertake those roles as that would constitute ‘breaking the strike’.”

In a similar letter, Nailsea School headteacher Christopher Wade told parents: “Based on the information I have on the number of staff who will be taking action on that day, which will lead to a significantly reduced teaching complement, I have made the decision to close the school to all students in years seven to 11 as it would not be safe to remain open.”

Some primary schools will close while others are able to remain partially or fully open.

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Tomorrow’s action is part of a series of strikes organised by the NUT and NASUWT, which are in dispute with the Government over excessive workloads and planned changes to teachers’ pay and pensions.

NUT North Somerset division secretary and Nailsea School teacher, Jon Reddiford, said: “There is already a frighteningly high drop-out rate of 50 per cent of new teachers leaving the job in three years.

“What is at stake here is the long-term future of Britain’s high quality education system. When considering the inconvenience of one day’s childcare the long-term risks to our children are much more severe.

“Emails to MPs, attempted negotiations with the Secretary of State, petitions and anything short of strike action are not making the difference.”

A union rally will be held in central Bristol tomorrow, with many North Somerset teachers expected to take part.

Any staff who do strike will be docked a day’s pay by North Somerset Council but this may differ for any employed by an academy school.