Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Schools face closing as teachers stage strike over pay deal

AT least three schools in the Henley area are set to close when teachers stage a one-day walkout on Thursday.

AT least three schools in the Henley area are set to close when teachers stage a one-day walkout on Thursday.

The strike has been organised by the National Union of Teachers and NASUWT and will hit schools and colleges throughout the South-East.

Badgemore Primary School in Henley will be shut all day as will Caversham Park and Emmer Green primaries.

Most other primary schools hope to be able to stay open.

Some secondary schools have warned parents to expect disruption.

Daniel Sadler, headteacher of Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common, said: “We will certainly have a partial closure of the school.

“We are still working out how many staff are to be available but it won’t be a normal day. If we are open it will only be for Year 11. The majority of the teaching staff will be striking.”

Rick Holroyd, headteacher of Langtree School in Woodcote, said: “We have a significant proportion of colleagues taking part in legitimate strike action and will have to go for a partial closure.

“I don’t yet know what way we will cut it but we will look at timetables and see what is the most effective and safe thing to do for the age groups.”

Catharine Darnton, headteacher of Gillotts School in Henley, said: “We haven’t made a decision to close the school yet and we are working very closely with the unions to see how may of our staff are likely to be at work. Once we know that we can decide whether to stay open.”

The Henley College plans to be open as normal.

Principal Tom Espley said: “We have sent a letter to parents to say that the college will be open on Thursday, the classes will all run and in that respect it will be a normal day. We expect some disruption, as it will affect every school in the region, but it’s difficult to say how much as it’s up to staff. It’s for individuals to take whatever action they deem necessary.”

Melinda Tilley, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for children, education and families, said: “Nobody will be able to judge accurately how or how many schools will be affected.

“We’re encouraging schools to give the most timely information possible directly to pupils and parents, local media and the county council for the purposes of keeping our website up to date.

“We completely understand that schools may be dealing with a very fluid picture right up until the last minute but we hope that teachers will appreciate that there is an impact on the lives of people beyond the confines of the school.”

The strike is in protest at Education Secretary Michael Gove’s plans to alter teachers’ salaries and pensions and introduce performance-related pay.

Strikes have already taken place in the North and East.

Christine Blower, general Secretary of the NUT, said: “At the start of the new academic year, the last thing teachers wish to be doing is preparing for further industrial action.

“It is a great shame that the Education Secretary has let things get to this stage. With pay, pensions and working conditions being systematically attacked and an Education Secretary who refuses to listen or negotiate, teachers have no other choice.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of NASUWT, said: “The attacks on teachers are relentless. The reward for their hard work, dedication and commitment has been a vicious assault on their pay, conditions and professionalism.”

For more information, visit www.oxfordshire.

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