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Schools close with teachers' strike
There were no lessons for thousands of children across the district today, with a teachers’ strike forcing dozens of schools to shut.
More than 100 of the district’s schools were expected to either fully or partially close today because of a lack of staff, as the NUT and NASUWT unions take a day of action across Yorkshire, the Midlands and the East of England in a row over pensions, holidays and pay.
Members of both unions make up more than 85 per cent of all teaching staff across the district, according to the NUT’s Bradford spokesman Ian Murch yesterday. He said: “We know most schools will be entirely closed or only open to a particular group of children.”
Mr Murch said his members were angry at Government plans to shorten school holidays, remove pay rises based on length of service and make them work until the age of 68.
He said: “It’s having an impact on people coming into teaching. Far fewer people signed up for teacher training this year than in previous years, because they are worried about it.”
A spokesman for the Department for Education said the Government’s measures to introduce performance-related pay were designed to allow headteachers to pay good teachers more, and called the strikes “disappointing”. He said: “All strikes will do is disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession.”
Mr Murch said they regretted causing an inconvenience to parents.
But he said striking teachers caused no more disruption than the extra bank holidays taken in 2011 and 2012 for Royal events.
He said: “Obviously we regret causing that to happen, but it’s not like there are endless numbers of strikes. We had a strike in 2011 and one in 2008, but during the same time we have had days off for the Diamond Jubilee and the Royal Wedding – so we haven’t caused any more disruption than they have caused.”
Further strikes are planned across other regions in the coming weeks, followed by a national strike later in the year.
A DfE spokesman said: “It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are striking over the Government’s measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more.”
Some parents were also critical that teachers had decided to take industrial action.
Zoreen Akhtar, 34, a full-time mother, of Killinghall Road, Bradford, said: “The children shouldn’t be missing out on their education. I’ve had to change my schedule quite a bit to deal with what’s going on.”
Shazira Malik, 30, a bank worker, of Laisterdyke, said: “I can’t go to college or work, and because of that I’ll be missing out on a day’s pay. I appreciate that teachers need to get their issues sorted out but it’s frustrating.”
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