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Up to 90% of Dorset teachers could walk out of their classrooms in strike action
STRIKE action by teachers could bring schools to a standstill on October 17.
Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset councils have all been warned that up to 90 per cent of teachers could walk out of their classrooms in a row over pay, pensions and conditions.
Action is being planned by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).
Between them the unions represent nine out of ten teachers in the area but it is not yet known exactly how many will take part in the one-day strike.
Some schools have already told parents they may be forced to close but they have warned the decision could be made at the last minute.
Parents are being urged to make alternative arrangements for their children.
A spokesman for Bournemouth council said: “We are monitoring the situation at this stage but may not have the full picture until nearer the time.
“We have received notification from the NASUWT that their members will be taking strike action.”
At Dorset County Council, lead adviser for school improvement Mark Loveys said: “We are encouraging schools to stay open. However, the final decision lies with the headteacher and the chair of governors.”
In Poole a council spokesman urged parents to keep in touch with schools and added: “The schools make their own decisions. Heads have to do risk assessments and discuss the situation with governors about whether or not they can keep the school open.”
The last teacher's strike in November 2011 saw 23 per cent of teachers in Bournemouth take strike action.
On this occasion teachers claim multiple changes to the education system are making their jobs impossible and have also voiced concerns about plans to introduce performance-related pay.
Strikes have already been held in many other parts of the country.
Geoff Cooke, secretary of NUT Dorset, said: “We are expecting the vast majority of members to be on strike but there's no compulsion. So far the feedback has been virtually 95 per cent have said they are going to be taking action.
“I would think this will mean that most schools in the county will be closed all day.”
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