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Industrial action by union members over ‘dangerously low’ classroom morale
7:00am Saturday 22nd March 2014 in News
More than 60 schools will be either closed or partially closed by a teachers’ strike on Wednesday, and more closures could be announced in the coming days.
NUT members are striking over pay and conditions, which they say are causing “dangerously low” levels of teacher morale, and will be holding a rally in Bradford City Centre on the day of their industrial action.
Among the schools affected is Hanson School on Sutton Avenue, which will be closed for the day, but is having to bring in external examiners to oversee a GCSE art exam being taken by 75 pupils. The school has told Bradford Council it will have to shut because: “there will not be sufficient staff in school to guarantee the safe and effective running of the school.”
As of last night 19 schools in Bradford district had announced they will be fully closed on Wednesday, while a further 42 have announced partial closures. The NUT has apologised for the inconvenience to parents, but says the strike is necessary to put pressure on the Government to change its policies.
A recent government report revealed that primary school teachers work an average of 60 hours a week.
The NUT is fighting against plans to raise the retirement age of teachers to 68 and is concerned about the Government’s reduction of pensions and increase in pension contributions.
Bradford NUT Secretary John Howarth, said: “Teacher workload is unsustainable and the thought of doing the job until 68 is driving many away from the job. Teacher morale is at dangerously low levels. Children need teachers who are fresh and well motivated, not tired and demoralised. All the polls show that Michael Gove is out of touch with teachers and parents – he must listen and change direction. This strike is his fault – teachers do not like taking strike action but they are prepared to lose pay to stand up for education. We do apologise for the inconvenience to parents but we hope they will support us.”
At Wednesday’s rally, Bradford teachers will be joined by their colleagues in Kirklees and Calderdale. They are meeting at Centenary Square at 10.45am before starting the march at 11am. They are then holding a rally at the Hilton Hotel.