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Herefordshire schools set for strike
HEREFORDSHIRE teachers are gearing up for strike action, with the country’s two largest teaching unions set to step out on Tuesday.
NASUWT and NUT are responsible for 85 percent of teachers nationwide, and although that number falls to around 80 percent in Herefordshire, union leaders hope the strike will send a strong message to the secretary of state for education.
Martin Harrison, the honourary negotiatiating secretary for NASUWT in Herefordshire, said: “The education secretary [Michael Gove MP] is intransigent.
“Why are there are no strikes in Wales or Scotland? Their ministers are willing to sit down and talk, and they are progressing.
“That’s all we are asking - but he will not negotiate.”
Head teachers decide on a school-by-school basis how to operate – or whether or not to remain open – during strike action.
In a letter to parents, Whitecross head Denise Strutt underlined that student safety was the primary factor in making that decision.
The Hereford school will remain open; however only year 11 will attend as normal, with the school ‘closed’ for years 7, 9 and 10 and only pupils involved in Multi-Faith day in year 8 told to come in.
Ms Strutt added that “neither the governing body nor head teacher is legally allowed to close the school ‘in sympathy’ with the strike.”
The unions hopes the strike will force central government back to the negotiating table over changes to pensions, workload and conditions of service.
It is not a move against the schools themselves, a point reiterated by both Ms Strutt and John Kyrle High School head Nigel Griffiths, who plans to keep the Ross-on-Wye school open for years 9-11.
Hereford Academy's principal, John Sheppard, in a message on the school's website, said that it would open to years 11, 12 and 13 so examination courses could "continue as normal".
“It is always difficult decision for any teacher,” said Mr Harrison, who added that he hopes all NASUWT members will strike.
“Teachers are parents as well.
“It’s a bit like the fireman's strike – I can’t see teachers in the classroom at 67, 68, 69.”
Mr Harrison will be among a group of Herefordshire representatives marching attending a rally in Birmingham on Tuesday.
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