15:30 Thursday 12 September 2013

Family unimpressed by teachers' strike plan


Laura Francis (left) and Dawn Hartley Laura Francis (left) and Dawn Hartley

SCHOOLS have been accused of double standards after a South Derbyshire family spoke of their exasperation over upcoming teachers’ strikes.

Laura Francis, from Newhall, who has children at the William Allitt School and Newhall Infant School, and her mother Dawn Hartley, view the strike action on October 1 – which is set to have a widespread impact across the region – as salt in the wounds, having been left outraged by schools’ decision to fine parents who take their children on holiday during term time.

They have accused schools of hypocrisy as after being told they shouldn’t disrupt their child’s education by taking them out of school, they now face having to make arrangements for potential closures on October 1.

The pair, who share parental duties as both Mrs Francis and her husband work long hours, also disagree with the notion that striking teachers have the support of parents, as suggested by the NUT.

The union, along with NASUWT, have organised the day of strike action in protest at pay, pensions and working conditions.

Mrs Francis said: “I don’t know a parent that agrees with the strikes. Parents are being dictated to left, right and centre, but when it is for their own means my child’s education doesn’t seem to matter.

“The NUT is saying they have a lot of parents’ support but I would love to know where they have got that from. I don’t know one parent who is happy about being forced to take a day’s unpaid leave.”

Mrs Hartley, grandmother to 12-year-old Kaine and six-year-old Sienna, takes the children out of school to go on holiday every year.

Burton-based Bernadette Hunter, president of the National Association of Head Teachers, told the Mail parents needed to put their child’s education ‘before a cheap holiday’.

But Mrs Hartley countered that it was often the only way the family could go on holiday.

She and her daughter were adamant they would consider taking the fine on the chin, as it would be cheaper in the long-run.

Mrs Francis said: “I’ve looked into going on holiday in August next year. I don’t want to get into trouble, but if I can’t get time off from work I will be taking my children out and accept the fine.”

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