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Schools will close as teachers strike
PARENTS across the town are being told to make alternative childcare arrangements for next Thursday as a planned strike is to force the closure of a number of schools.
Some secondary schools have already confirmed they will not be opening their doors as others warn parents to make preparations for the strike on October 17.
The joint strike has been called by the NUT, the largest teachers’ union, and the NASUWT over a number of disputes including wages, pensions and working hours.
Heads are being forced to make decisions based on the number of union members in each school and if they expect them to strike.
Commonweal School and Ridgeway School have sent a message to parents telling them to make other plans in case the schools shut while Churchfields have also warned of possible closure and Swindon Academy have contacted parents.
A message on the Commonweal website from head Keith Defter said: “Given that a significant number of teaching staff at Commonweal are members of the unions it is anticipated that school will be closed to all students on this day.
“I will write again formally closer to the date to confirm arrangements but be advised of the likely need to make appropriate arrangements on this day.”
Lydiard Park Academy only has 15 union members among staff so it will be partly open on the day for years seven, 10, and 11 only.
To fill the spaces members of senior management will cover some lessons although a small number of lessons may be dedicated to private reading time.
The strike may also affect primary schools so the council is currently contacting each one to assess the impact.
Teachers who are part of the unions have no obligation to give notice of their intentions ahead of the strike date making it harder for schools to assess whether they will have cover on the day.
Members of other unions have been instructed not to cover other lessons and many teaching agencies will not send in cover to schools with strikers.
Each individual primary school headteacher will also make a decision.
The strike is the latest in a series of regional walk-outs called by the unions.
Last week a strike in the north and east of the UK saw more than 2,500 schools close for the day.
Peter Smith from the NUT said: “I am pleased but not at all surprised by the turnout.
“Teachers have had to take a lot from Michael Gove and the government in the last few years and there is only so far you can push people before they fight back.
“It is with obvious regret we are taking this action but I hope parents realise it is for the benefit of children.”
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