Schools beat strike action as dozens manage to stay open despite the teachers’ walkout (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Schools beat strike action as dozens manage to stay open despite the teachers’ walkout
DEFIANT staff at dozens of schools managed to keep their doors open despite the call for strike action.
Many schools across Bourne-mouth, Poole and Dorset remained open to all or some of their pupils while others closed for the day of action.
Parents spoke of their relief as they dropped their children off with few sympathising with striking teachers.
At the new Magna Academy in Canford Heath, principal Richard Tutt opened for all students in Years 9-13 with emergency childcare offered to parents of pupils in Years 7 and 8.
He said: “Magna Academy wanted to ensure that students have the best possible opportunity for forthcoming exam preparation and recognises that many parents could potentially have childcare issues.
“We must all hope that the issues over which the industrial action has arisen are resolved as soon as possible.”
Jewell Academy principal Claire Addis said: “Although the teachers are fully supportive of the reasons for the strike, they felt at this time in a new school environment their loyalty lay with the new pupils and therefore all staff have decided to attend school as normal.”
Bournemouth School for Girls remained open and head Alistair Brien told the Daily Echo: “It is always a fine balancing act for head teachers deciding whether to stay open or close the school, whether it be because of industrial action or snow.
“One has to balance the loss of a day’s learning and inconvenience to parents with ensuring a safe environment for pupils. There will inevitably be some disruption to learning and I look forward to returning to business as usual tomorrow.”
While many business were left counting costs as staff were forced stay at home looking after children, it wasn’t all doom and gloom.
At Farmer Palmers farm park, Organford, near Wareham, more than three times the usual visitors came through the gates. Attributing the influx to the teacher’s strike, Sandra Palmer said: “On a normal midweek day we’d be looking at around 80 visitors, but today we had around 250.”
Hundreds attend rally
HUNDREDS of teachers came together in Poole yesterday to go on strike against pay, pensions and current working conditions.
Teaching staff from schools across Dorset met at the RNLI College, on West Quay Road, to discuss their opposition to Education Secretary, Michael Gove’s plans to introduce performance-related pay, increased workloads and the pension scheme.
Karen Hunnisett, assistant head at Courthill First School, in Poole, was representing NASUWT at the meeting.
She said: “If I knew then what I know about teaching, I would never have gone into the profession. Logistically, it can’t carry on.”
She added: “I get to school in the morning at 6.50am and generally leave around 6pm.
“Michael Gove (pictured above) says he wants us to work longer, and also wants to push up the pension age to 68.
“Of course I feel bad that the children missed a day at school, but nobody wants to strike.
“However, Michael Gove has left us with no option.
“They are setting us up to fail. It’s an impossible challenge.”
Heather Cooke, NUT treasurer for Dorset, said: “I have retired myself, but I have lots of colleagues who are still teaching in schools.
“The government has never opened up the books about teachers’ payment for the extra hours they put in.
“There has been a lot of pressure applied by head teachers to their staff, and the government is pressuring them. They are also being asked to do a massive amount of paperwork.
“Heads and teachers are becoming frightened of Ofsted and they are in turn becoming the big bogeyman.”
Views from the web
DAILY Echo readers were divided in their opinion of the teacher’s strike.
While most online readers said they did not support the strike, scores of supporters also made their feelings known.
One reader said: “How is it that whenever there’s an initiative in the public sector to reward performance, the sector decides to strike? In the real world (ie the private sector) it’s all about performance – if you're no good at your job you don't get a pay rise and you don’t get a promotion. If you don't like it you get a new job. As for pensions, welcome to my world.”
Another said: “Teachers are not the only people who have jobs that are hard, require extra time to be put in without extra reward, and stressful. Lots of people’s jobs are like that. Quite a few of these people don't get anywhere near the pay and benefits that teachers get. Most of those people are at work today. It’s something called professionalism.”
In support of teachers, a reader said: “How dare you call teachers selfish? They have been to university for a minimum of four years and then choose a career which is paid poorly. They are entitled to stand up when they are having their pay and conditions changed, just as anyone does.”
And another said: “It’s about time people realised just how much work is done outside school hours by teachers.”
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