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Teachers strike in row over pay and conditions

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 26, 2014

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STRIKING teachers will man picket lines outside schools today after they walk out in a row over pay and conditions.

Local Education Authorities have announced a raft of school closures over the last week after the teaching union NUT said its members would strike.

The union opted for industrial action over ‘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 to close the school 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 had 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 it would open to Year 11 and its sixth form only.

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.”

Latest Government figures say teachers work a 60-hour week - a figure which the NUT claim is too much and explains why 40 per cent of newly-qualified teachers leave the profession within the first five years.

General secretary of the NUT, Christine Blower, said teachers ‘deeply regretted’ the disruption caused by the strike.

She said: “The Government’s refusal, however, to engage to resolve the dispute means that we have no alternative other than to demonstrate the seriousness of our concerns.”

PARENTS across Burton and South Derbyshire will face disruption today after it was announced a raft of schools in the region would close.

The Blessed Robert Sutton announced it would close its doors last week while The Pingle School said about a third of its staff would strike.

Derbyshire County Council also revealed Egginton Primary School, Eureka Primary School, Hartshorne CE Primary School and Hilton Primary School would close.

Across the border in East Staffordshire the Grange Infant School, in Burton, was due close while Horninglow Primary School would close to Years 3 and 4 only.

Pupils in classes seven, eight, nine, 10 and 14 at Outwoods Primary School were also told not to attend.

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