Strike action closes Wiltshire schools as teachers urged to join Bristol rally (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Strike action closes Wiltshire schools as teachers urged to join Bristol rally
1:02pm Wednesday 16th October 2013 in News
Teaching unions NUT and NASUWT are encouraging teachers across Wiltshire to join a rally in Bristol tomorrow, when a day of strike action will see many schools in the county close due to a lack of staff.
The strike was called by the unions over a number of disputes, including wages, pensions and working hours, with headteachers forced to make decisions on whether to stay open or not based on the number of union members in their schools.
Christ Church Primary School and St Laurence School in Bradford on Avon will both be closing, although St Laurence is providing a study space for Year 7 and 8 pupils.
Trowbridge’s St Augustine’s College will only be open to Year 11 pupils and sixth form students, while John of Gaunt School, also in Trowbridge, will open for Year 11, 12 and 13 pupils.
Clarendon Academy is open for pupils in Year 7, 8 and 11 as well as sixth form students, but Kingdown School in Warminster will be closed to all pupils. Matravers School in Westbury will make a decision tomorrow morning.
Devizes School, St John’s in Marlborough, Calne’s John Bentley School, Corsham School and the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy are all due to close.
Elsewhere, Chippenham schools Abbeyfield, Sheldon and Hardenhuish are to shut as is Malmesbury School, but a study space for Year 7 and 8 pupils to work is to be provided, while Lavington School near Devizes is putting on DVD screenings for Year 7 and 8 pupils.
Pewsey Vale School is due to open to Year 11 students only.
In primary schools, the response to the strike is expected to be patchy. In Devizes, it is understood only Southbroom Juniors will be totally shut.
Mike Harrison, Wiltshire secretary of the NUT, said: “We have been asking the Government to enter into meaningful talks with us, but they have continually refused to do so.
“There is no other option than to strike and it’s an option we don’t take lightly. It’s the last resort, but we just want the Government to listen.
“We are striking together with the NASUWT in Bristol, which we have never done before. Michael Gove has done wonders in uniting the two unions and it shows the extent of our dissatisfaction.”
Thousands of teachers across the South West are expected to attend the march from College Green in Bristol, with teachers in Wiltshire encouraged to take part by the two unions.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “The overwhelming majority of teachers in the region will be on strike. Teachers are committed and dedicated public service workers. They do not take strike action lightly.
“No teacher has any wish to inconvenience parents or disrupt pupils’ education, but this action is not the failure or due to the unreasonableness of teachers.
“It is the failure and unreasonableness of the Secretary of State, who day-in-day-out is disrupting the education of children and young people through his attacks on the teaching profession.
“We continue to appeal to the Secretary of State to acknowledge the real and deep concerns of teachers and commit to engage constructively in discussions to seek to resolve the dispute.”