Schools will close during teachers' strike

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Teachers taking action at Queensbury School last October in their fight over pay and conditions Teachers taking action at Queensbury School last October in their fight over pay and conditions

Several Bradford schools have announced they will have to close because of a teachers’ strike next week – and a union predicts more closures are likely be announced in the next few days.

The National Union of Teachers will be striking next Wednesday over pay and conditions, although they will not be joined by fellow teaching union the NASUWT.

Striking teachers will march round Bradford city centre to let people know about their anger over pay and a decision to raise the pension age, which could see staff teach until they are 68.

The NASUWT voted last month to continue talks with the Department for Education rather than take industrial action.

Schools that have announced they will not open on strike day are All Saints CE Primary School in Little Horton, Aire View Infant School in Silsden, Cullingworth Village Primary School and Hirst Wood Nursery School in Shipley.

Holycroft Primary School in Keighley will only partially open, as will Saltaire Primary School.

A representative of the NUT says that with around half the district’s teachers belonging to the union, most schools will face some disruption and more are likely to announce closures in the next few days.

The union voted to strike over “excessive workload and bureaucracy” and what they see as unfair pension changes.

Ian Murch, Bradford spokesman for the NUT, said: “We have members in every Bradford school so I think most will be affected to some extent. The schools have to make their own decisions to close but I think quite a lot of secondary schools will. Some primary schools may just have a class or two shut for the day.”

He said the NASWUT had taken a different view of talks currently going on between the unions and the Government, adding: “We take the view that the talks haven’t really achieved anything.

"The government has said for six months they are willing to talk about our issues but they have not made a significant offer.”

He said teachers had experienced a three-year pay freeze as well as facing a rising retirement age.

Mr Murch added: “None of these things are good for parents. They wouldn’t want the people who teach their children to be in the classroom until they are 68.

“Schools already have difficulty in recruiting teachers in maths and English and if pay is kept down and teachers are unhappy that is going to get worse.”

He pointed to a recent survey by the Department for Education that found primary school teachers worked on average for 60 hours a week, while secondary school teachers work 56.

The march in the city centre will start at City Hall at 11am.

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