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Schools out as teaching union NUT calls strike

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 23, 2014

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MAJOR schools in Burton and South Derbyshire will close this week when teachers walk out in a row over pay and conditions.

The Blessed Robert Sutton Sports College will close its doors and The Pingle School only open to Year 11 and sixth form on Wednesday, after the teaching union NUT announced its members would strike.

The union opted for industrial action over what it calls ‘damaging’ Government changes to education, including 50 per cent pension contributions and performance-related pay.

A letter from Simon Thomas, the chairman of governors at Burton’s Blesses Robert Sutton, said the decision was taken after a ‘careful review’.

He said: “We have received confirmation that the NUT have asked their membership to take part in strike action in a trade dispute over what they feel are feel adverse changes to pensions, workload, conditions of service, including pay, pay progression and job losses.

“The rolling programme of strike action is due to the union’s view that there has been a failure of the Government to engage in proper consultation on fundamental changes to teachers’ terms and conditions.”

Mr Thomas asked parents to make ‘alternative arrangements’ and for pupils not to report to school.

He added: “I apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.”

Across the border in South Derbyshire, assistant head teacher at The Pingle School, in Swadlincote Deb Holland, said about a third of staff could strike.

She said: “We are unable to open safely for the whole school.

“We have priorities exam classes so Year 11, 12 and 13 will be in school all day. We are unable to accommodate Years 7-10.”

The William Allitt School, in Newhall, told the Mail it hoped to stay open but would it was not yet known how many teachers would be affected.

Latest Government figures say teachers work a 60-hour week - a figure which the NUT claim is too much and explains why so many young teachers leave the profession.

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