STRIKE CLOSES SCHOOLS

Union mem­bers re­port pos­i­tive re­sponse to ac­tion

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Tom Her­bert tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @TRHer­bert

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.

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