Poll: Do you support the one-day teacher strike?

Graham White, Suffolk NUT

Graham White, Suffolk NUT - Credit: Archant

Schools across the region are preparing for tomorrow’s one-day teacher strike over pay, conditions, and pension arrangements.

Almost all state schools in Suffolk are likely to be affected by the dispute – but most will be at least partly open, with classes taken by teachers who are not members of the NUT or NASUWT.

Tomorrow’s action is part of a national series of strikes – teachers in half of the country are striking this week, teachers in the rest of England and Wales will be striking later in the month.

The two unions are also considering the possibility of another one-day strike across the whole country before Christmas.

The secretary of the NUT in Suffolk Graham White said: “We accept that this will cause disruption to parents and teachers but the blame for this strike lies fairly and squarely on Mr Gove. We hope that parents will understand our reasons for taking this action but it is short term, temporary loss which we hope will result in significant long term gains for the future of education.

“Many teachers are parents so they will be affected by the strike, including their own loss of pay, but they also care about their own children’s education, both now and in the future.’

“This is not about improving our pay or our pensions or our conditions of service, or saying we are a special case, but it is about defending the education system.”

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Suffolk cabinet member with responsibilty for education Lisa Chambers said she was disappointed teachers were taking action – especially as the county was trying to drive up educational standards with the Raising the Bar initiative.

Mrs Chambers said: “This action is pointless and it is very disruptive to families. I’m going to have to take my son to meetings – and believe me he’d rather be at school with his friends.

“But most important it means young people are going to lose a day’s schooling. You can say it’s only one day – but when you’re trying to increase educational attainment every day is important.”

The strike is also affecting schools in Essex, where Witham MP Priti Patel urged teachers to ignore the call to leave their classrooms.

She said: “Industrial action by teachers will do nothing to further the issues they are campaigning about and will only cause disruption to the education of the county’s children.

“Most teachers did not vote in this ballot and it would be shameful if a small minority were allowed to cause so much damage to the education of local children.”