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Teacher strike will affect ‘thousands’
THOUSANDS of children are due to miss lessons tomorrow as teachers across the county go on strike.
Early indications are that most schools in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset will be affected by industrial action, called by the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers.
Teachers are not obliged to reveal whether or not they will be walking out until the day of the strike meaning many parents will have just half-an-hour’s notice of school closures.
But many have already warned headteachers of their intentions, meaning some schools have been able to give advance warning to parents.
Many schools also have no obligation to tell local authorities what they are planning to do because they are independently run academies.
In the Dorset County Council area just 15 schools have informed the council of their plans with 13 announcing plans to close.
Poole council is publishing what details it can on its website and has so far warned of at least 20 schools planning to close either fully or partially.
Several schools in Bournemouth have warned of closures with others due to make up their minds tomorrow morning.
Many secondary schools across the county are closing for some year groups and not others.
Most sixth forms are staying open.
In a letter to parents, Executive Principal of Glenmoor and Winton in Bournemouth, Ben Parnell, said: “Our main concern is the safety of our students.
“I have assessed the risk of opening the schools and will be shut for all students in Years 7-10 but open for students in Year 11.
“It is illegal for the school to use supply teachers or non-striking teachers to cover the work of colleagues absent due to the strike so the challenge to maintain a normal school day is significant.”
Dorset County Council’s lead advisor for school improvement, Mark Loveys, said: “We are encouraging schools to stay open.
“However, the final decision as to whether a school remains open, closed or partially closed lies with the headteacher and the chair of governors.
“All schools have been asked to give parents, school transport and pupils as much notice as possible.”
Unions to organise rally
The two unions have organised a rally, due to take place in the Waterfront Suite at the RNLI College in West Quay Road, Poole from 11am until noon tomorrow.
All teachers from the Poole, Bournemouth and Dorset areas have been encouraged to attend with supporters, family and friends.
Speakers will include NUT National Executive member Robin Head.
Bournemouth NUT Secretary David Morgan said strike action is a last resort in a bid to protect the teaching profession. The dispute is not with the schools or the local authorities but with the excessive workload, bureaucracy and changes to teachers’ pay and pensions.
“Teachers are deeply concerned about the impact of these changes on morale, recruiting and retaining teachers and the quality of teaching for the pupils.”
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