THOUSANDS of children will miss lessons next week when teachers walk out of their classrooms for an unprecedented third time in a year.
The National Union of Teachers is taking strike action to protest against proposed government reforms.
They will be joined in a day of act-ion by other public sector work-ers who are members of Unison Head teachers across Bourne-mouth, Poole and Dorset have warned they will not know how many teachers are taking part in the strike until the day itself, Thursday July 10.
But some are already urging parents to make alternative plans for their children in case they have to close.
Amanda Jones, head teacher of Hill View Primary in Bourne-mouth has told parents: “The decision to close the school or send pupils home is never taken lightly but, in this instance, where staff have elected to take lawful industrial action, I will have no choice but to take appropriate steps to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of all pupils.”
At Christchurch Infant School, parents have been warned Foundation classes and one Year 1 class will be closed with the rest of the school open as normal.
Dorset divisional secretary of the NUT, Geoff Cooke, said members are also concerned about increasing size classes, redundancies, competition for school places and changes to the curriculum.
He added: “Strike action for the third time this school year is unprecedented and reflects teachers’ anger over the refusal of tMichael Gove to have proper discussions about divisive reforms.”
Bournemouth NUT chief David Morgan said: “We are heading for a catastrophe in the future because we won’t be able to recruit and retain teachers unless conditions improve.
“Children will be taught by people who are not qualified for the job and that is not what we want. The main areas for concern are pay, pensions and workload.”
COUNCILS in Dorset are reassuring residents that they will do all they can to maintain services during next week’s public sector strike.
Tony Williams, chief executive of Bournemouth council, said: “It is difficult to gauge how many staff will strike as they are not obliged to inform us whether they intend to strike or not.
“However, I would like to assure residents we will be doing everything possible to maintain council services.
“In particular, we will do our utmost to ensure that vital front-line services such as day care, domiciliary care and child protection are running as normal in order to protect the most vulnerable.”
Carl Wilcox, Head of Human Resources, Borough of Poole, said: “We anticipate that the majority of council staff will be working normally next Thursday. Our priority is to minimise the likelihood of any impact on residents but unfortunately we cannot rule out the possibility of disruption to some local services on the day. The council is continuing negotiations with local union representatives in an effort to ensure essential services for the most vulnerable are maintained during the industrial action.”
A spokesman for Dorset County Council said: “We will be doing everything we can to maintain essential services. Our priority will be to continue to provide services for the most vulnerable. We will be regularly updating residents via dorsetforyou.com. Schools should be informing parents directly if headteachers and governors decide to close.”