STRIKE CLOSES SCHOOLS
Union members report positive response to action
PUPILS and parents across Bucks faced disruption this week as teachers in the county joined thousands across the UK in a one day strike.
Several schools in Bucks faced full and part closures on Tuesday (July 5) as National Union of Teacher (NUT) members hit back against funding cuts and deregulation. Newtown Early Years and Infant School in Chesham, Fulmer Infant School and Iver Heath Junior School were closed while Elangeni School in Amersham, Holtspur School in Beaconsfield and Little Missenden Church of England School, had partial closures.
Annette Pryce, Bucks NUT division secretary, said response to the strike had gone very well and they knew of around 20% of schools that were ‘affected or closed’. She added: “For this area it was positive, we’ve had lots of good feedback from teachers and even parents who I spoke to in High Wycombe on Saturday (July 2). This is about how funding cuts are ruining education and the deregulation of conditions of service is affecting recruitment and retention of teachers.”
Iver Heath Junior School headteacher Owen Lloyd said: “The decision to close the school is never taken lightly, however we have been pleased with the supportive response from parents and hope that the NUT and the government can come to a quick resolution.”
Nick Wilson, BCC director for education, said: “Individual schools
managed the effects of the NUT strike locally, and kept parents and carers informed about changes to the school day.
“We hope that the NUT and the government can come to a quick resolution so that any further disruption to schools can be avoided.”
Nearly 100 per cent of members voted in favour of industrial action with a 24.5 per cent turnout.
They said they were fighting against ‘unmanageable and exhausting’ workloads and said terms and conditions are worsening.
The union told parents it was not taking strike action lightly but the effects of the cuts on their children’s education was real and damaging. Members also cited teacher recruitment and retention, along with pay and working conditions, as primary reasons to the strike. Ms Pryce said that while any future actions will need to be decided by the national executive after evaluating the effects of Tuesday’s strike, it will most likely be in the autumn term with a decision to be made this month.
She also confirmed UNISON and GMB will be joining the NUT later in the year, with the Association Of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) a possibility.