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Latest News - March 2014

March 26, 2014
School Closures: Wednesday, March 26 (NUT National Strike)
Source: The Northern Echo
By: Barry Nelson

HUNDREDS of North-East schools will be closed or partially closed today (Wednesday, March 26) because of the first national strike by the National Union of Teachers for decades.

The last regional teachers’ strikes took place in October when members of the NUT and sister union the NASUWT walked out in North Yorkshire and then in the North-East as part of a continuing dispute over pay, workload and pensions with Education Secretary Michael Gove.

But this time it is the NUT alone which has asked its tens of thousands of members in the North-East and North Yorkshire to walk out.

One of the worst hit areas is County Durham where 58 schools – mainly primary but some secondary – will be closed or partially closed while in Darlington five schools will close and 15 will partially close.

In North Yorkshire the strike will force 24 schools to close for the day and partially close another 46.

Three schools will close in Stockton while in Hartlepool two will close and 12 will partially close.

Mike McDonald, Northern regional secretary of the NUT, said: “It is regrettable that we find ourselves in this position. We have sought to persuade the Secretary of State to come to discuss our concerns for many months and we have been met with procrastination.

The workload is intolerable and there is a deep concern for the future of our new young teachers. At present, 40 per cent of teachers leave the profession within five years of joining because of the intolerable demands that are made on them.”

Mr McDonald said research indicated that performance related pay will not improve educational standards.

“We deeply regret that the Secretary of State has been allowed to push teachers into this unenviable position and we call on him to enter into meaningful discussions on these issues to help to bring this dispute to an end.”

Striking NUT members from across the region have been invited to attend a rally in the centre of Newcastle today.

A DfE spokesperson said: "Parents will struggle to understand why the NUT is pressing ahead with strikes over the Government's measures to let heads pay good teachers more. They called for talks to avoid industrial action, we agreed to their request, and talks have been taking place weekly.

"Despite this constructive engagement with their concerns, the NUT is taking action that will disrupt parents' lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession.”




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