PARENTS are bracing themselves for possible strike action which could see schools across Dorset closed on Wednesday next week.
The National Union of Teachers is warning of widespread disruption in primary and secondary schools in the area due to an ongoing row about working conditions and pensions.
But teachers don't have to inform schools of their plans until the morning of the proposed action meaning most can't make decisions until the last minute.
A spokesman for Bournemouth council said most schools are unsure of their plans at this stage.
And in the Dorset County Council area schools are being urged to stay open where possible.
Mark Loveys, lead advisor for school improvement with the county council said: “We are encouraging schools to stay open, where it is feasible and poses no risk to pupils as a result.
“However, the final decision as to whether a school remains open, closed or partially closed lies with the headteacher and the chairman of governors.
“All schools have been asked to give parents, school transport and pupils as much notice as possible.”
At Hill View primary in Bournemouth, head teacher Amanda Jones has urged parents to make alternative arrangements in case she is forced to close the school.
In a letter to parents she said: “. I ask that you make provisional arrangements for your child to be cared for on that day just in case the members of the NUT in school take strike action.
“I am aware that class/school closures inconvenience parents and carers and so I am writing to give you advance notice of the likely impact of the action on this school.”
After consulting with teachers, Bournemouth School for Girls head Alistair Brien has written to parents to tell them the school will remain open.
Teachers went on strike in October last year and a further strike was called off in February because union leaders hoped talks would take place with Education Secretary Michael Gove.
But now they claim the talks were insignificant and are calling on their members to walk out for a day.
Dorset NUT secretary Geoff Cooke said: “We wanted to talk to him at a national level about the changes he is proposing and about the way education in the country is going.”
Mr Cooke said that the strike action was a 'last resort' and no teacher wanted to have to take the action. He said: “They don't want to do it at all. It's against their instincts to affect parents or children.”
If Mr Gove did agree to sit down with teachers the strike could be called off within 24 hours, Mr Cooke said.
A rally will take place at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne on the day of the strike from 11am until 1pm.
Teachers from Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole are expected to join.
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Schools affected by the strikes next week
- St Edward's School, Poole - closed to years 7 and 8 but open to years 9,10, 11 and sixth form
- Queen Elizabeth School, Wimborne - closed to years 9, 10 and 11 but open to years 12 and 13
Sturminster Newton High School - only open for year 11 and sixth form
Lytchett Minster School - closed
Gillingham School - closed to years 7,8,9 and 10 but open to years 11, 12 and 13
Highcliffe School - closed to all except sixth form