Teachers' strike: thousands of pupils miss school across Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset in day of action (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Teachers' strike: thousands of pupils miss school across Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset in day of action
THOUSANDS of children across Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset are missing out on lessons today following a mass walkout by teachers.
Most schools in the county are fully or partially closed following a strike call by teaching unions.
Decisions about whether or not to open have been taken by individual schools with most citing safety issues as their reason for closure.
It is against the law for schools to employ cover for teachers who have elected to go on strike.
At some schools parents were not due to find out whether their children can attend school until 8.30am this morning.
Even schools which are open are unable to guarantee that lessons will take place as normal with some asking students to take reading books or homework to do during the day.
Outside Queen's Park Academy and Queens Park Infant Academy in Bournemouth this morning parents said they are happy their children are in class and praised headteachers for remainign open.
They criticised the closure of other schools inthe borough and most said they have no sympathy with the teachers' strike.
Emma Rawson, head of Stourfield Junior in Southbourne told parents yesterday: “As staff are under no obligation to inform me of their intentions in advance, I am unable to let you know which classes may be affected.”
But he added: “Some of the lessons will be as normal, others however will take the form of supervised private study.”
Hundreds of teachers were expected to gather at a rally in Poole this morning, organised by the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers..
The move has forced parents to take time off work, many at short notice.
Peter Scott, chief executive of the Dorset Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said the strike will have a knock-on effect for employers in the area but added: “I anticipate that responsible employers will view this is a dimension of childcare and be supportive of those parents who are unable to make alternative arrangements at short notice or who find it more appropriate to be with their children during the strike.”
- Universities across the UK will be brought to a standstill by strike action later this month unless a row over pay can be resolved in the next two weeks.
The University and College Union (UCU), UNISON and Unite trade unions announced yesterday that their members working in higher education will walk out on Thursday October 31 in an increasingly bitter row over pay.
Furious parents have reacted angrily to their children being forced out of the classroom for a day.
Bournemouth councillor Jane Montrose was among those taking to social media sites to complain.
She wrote: “Dear St Peter’s School, thank you for your email today advising me that your teachers are striking on Thursday and therefore my child cannot attend school that day.
“As you are aware it is now against the law for my child to be kept away from school during term time. Such absences are subject to a statutory fine. As such, please advise to whom I should address your fixed penalty notice so that I may post it to you. Kind regards, Jane.”
Daily Echo reader Ian Vincent added: “If parents and carers get fined for taking their kids out of school for a day, should it not be the case that striking teachers pay each parent or carer the same amount for stopping kids being educated for a day? I think that’s only fair.”
Statement from the National Union of Teachers about the closures
“We anticipate that the vast majority of schools will be closed and, although we regret any disruption to parents and pupils we believe that the effects of current policies being ideologically driven by Michael Gove are doing considerable harm to the profession, to schools ability to recruit and retain teachers and to the education service in general.
“Strike action is never a step that teachers take lightly and we are very aware and concerned about the inconvenience it causes parents.
“Unfortunately we are faced with a Coalition Government that is refusing to listen to the reasonable demands of the profession. Changes to pay, pensions and workload will make teaching a far less attractive profession, which is not in the long-term interests of teachers and children.
“No teacher takes strike action lightly, this is a last resort for teachers but the absolute refusal of the Government to enter into meaningful talks to resolve the dispute or to allow an independent valuation of our pension scheme has left teachers with no choice. There needs to be a change in the Government’s attitude to teachers and education.
“Many young teachers leave the profession early in their careers, wasting both their enthusiasm and the investment in their training whilst, at the same time, applications to train are well down on planned figures in many areas.
“We face shortages in key subjects vital for the future of our economy. Only a reversal of current policies will address this”.
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