Teacher strike to close some schools and colleges
SCHOOLS across Huntingdonshire will close on Thursday as a result of industrial action by the National Union of Teachers. Thousands of parents will be affected by the strike action, with many forced to take time off work to care for their children. The bi
SCHOOLS across Huntingdonshire will close on Thursday as a result of industrial action by the National Union of Teachers.
Thousands of parents will be affected by the strike action, with many forced to take time off work to care for their children.
The biggest secondary school in the district, St Ivo in St Ives, will close for Years 7-10, affecting many hundreds of pupils. The school will remain open for GCSE and A-level students, who have exams next month.
St Neots Community College will also be closed for pupils in Years 7, 8 and 10. Principal Eueth Forrester said: "It is a very regrettable situation. If we could keep the school open, we would, but unfortunately we simply do not have the staff and we must make the best of a difficult situation."
Mr Forrester added the school would be open to students if parents could not arrange alternative childcare arrangements. "We will not be turning anyone away," the principal said.
Abbey College, in Ramsey, will close for Years 7 and 8. In a statement on the college's website, headteacher Wayne Birks said: "I recognise that this strike action may cause inconvenience, and I apologise for this in advance."
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County-wide, more than a fifth of Cambridgeshire's 250 primary, secondary and special schools are set to be at least partially-closed.
NUT members voted to strike over pay for the first time in 21 years earlier this month. They believe a Government offer of a 2.45 per cent pay increase is too low and is below the rate of inflation.
The union has 2,500 members in Cambridgeshire and although not all will strike, significant numbers are set to stay away from work.
In Eltisley, the Newton Primary School will shut its doors for the day.
In a statement posted on the school's website, headteacher Rhys Thrower said: "I can appreciate the inconvenience that closing the school will cause and it is not a decision either myself or the governing body have reached lightly.
"School will re-open as normal on Friday."
At Earith Primary School all 129 pupils have been told to stay away for the day. Headteacher Sue Spooner said: "It is always a tough decision to close the school but having explored all the options we felt we had no alternative bearing in mind the health and safety of the children."
Thorndown Infants School, in St Ives, will also close. The 119-pupil school has five teachers, all of whom are NUT members. Great Paxton Primary School is also set to shut for the day.
John Duveen, the secretary of Cambridgeshire NUT, said: "It [forced closure of schools] is an inevitable consequence of strike action.
"Something like 50 per cent of newly-qualified teachers leave teaching within three years and the main reason given is pay.
"Members' pay has been dropping down below inflation for five years now, while other pressures have been building up."
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