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That's the end of our LIVE NEWS feed for today. We'll be back tomorrow morning. If you've joined us late use the scroll bar to see how the day unfolded, or click the LIVE NEWS heading.
The site will be updated with any major news as it happens throughout the evening.
Also at the rally was Ian Hamilton, a maths teacher at Isambard School, who said the strike was a battle which needed to be won.
“This is not a day off. We are losing a day’s pay and have come down to Bristol to make our point,” he said.
“This is a fight we have to win to ensure the standards remain high for the next 20 or 30 years. We want qualified teachers coming into the profession and to that we need to ensure there are good conditions, pay and pensions.
“We are fighting for parents because things cannot continue as they have been.”
Tracy Mason of Crowdys Hill School was amongst those teachers striking today. She was at the march in Bristol and said she was pleased with the turnout and hoped the government listened to the message.
“I think it has been a good day and we got a lot of support from passers-by with people sounding their horns," she said.
"It was good to speak with other teachers and discuss the situations at other schools. The turnout was very good, especially as there were several other protests in the region.
“I think we did send the right message across and I hope the government is listening. I hope we have the support of parents because it is for their children we are fighting.”
Cats send out a message after another weekend double (From Swindon Advertiser) http://t.co/j3oALVlBRU— @TweetSWSC 26 March 2014
Wiltshire Police, along with several partnership agencies, have today run a successful operation tackling heavy goods vehicle offences committed on the M4.
The Operation Harness day of action took place along the M4 between junctions 14 and 15. Full story here.
Any vehicles stopped travelling on this stretch of the motorway were taken to a nearby weighbridge where checks were undertaken on the vehicle and the driver.
As a result of the operation:
• Approximately 60 vehicles were stopped and checked.
• A total of £7,350 worth of fines were issued.
• 10 vehicles were found to be overweight.
• 4 had mechanical defects which resulted in immediate prohibition notices being served.
• 4 had minor defects which resulted in delayed prohibition notices being served.
• 33 fixed penalty notices were issued.
• 1 cannabis street caution was issued.
• Other offences included; the use of mobile phone while driving, seat belt offences, tyre offences and driving without tax and insurance.
Wonderful collaboration with @lawnprimary Mr Green had lots of fun working with Year 4, 5 & 6 pupils! @swindonadver http://t.co/GbU2Lftm5t— @churchfieldssn3 26 March 2014
The Prime Minister @David_Cameron has pledged to support Honda workers in Swindon at risk of losing their jobs: http://t.co/x22VTXct04— @BerenCross 26 March 2014
inSwindon manager Rebecca Rowland will be in the Hotseat next week. If you have a question related to the town centre, get in touch. Click the image above to find out how.
Admittedly the pictures aren't clear, but do you know today's Crook of the Day? Call 101. http://t.co/Xevnvzxdw0— @SwindonAdver007 26 March 2014
'I’m most proud of UTC, it will be boost for town' says Swindon's council leader @CllrDavidRenard http://t.co/VlcpwvkROQ— @utcswindon 26 March 2014
Meanwhile on Facebook, the school strike debate still rages:
Matthew Walton says: Good on them. If the government doesn't listen to them. How else can the working man fight for what he believes in. If they had their way this government would want to take everything away and pay you 3 shillings a week without any holiday pay. To withdraw your labour is the last resort . What else can they do? Perhaps over the last 20 years if more people had fought for their pay and conditions we would all be better off.
Stephen Derek Strange, 49, of Faringdon Road has denied an allegation at Swindon Magistrates' Court this morning that he phoned 999 with a bomb hoax on Tuesday, December 3 last year at Swindon's Debenhams Department Store, in The Parade.
Youngsters from seven secondary schools got to grips with the realities of the Great War at a special workshop last week. See the story here. Click the pic for a picture gallery.
In other news, here's our back page today. Mark Cooper's angry half-time team talk inspire Town's 2-1 away victory. Click the pic for more.
The NUT is asking for constructive talks with Michael Gove and the Department of Education which they say have so far not been forthcoming. Union bosses say talks so far have only been about how to implement changes to pay structures and pensions, not a negotiation.
In a letter to the teaching unions yesterday, the Education Secretary said: “I know schools have made good progress in revising their pay and appraisal policies and putting in place systems to support the reformed arrangements for teachers’ pay. I do recognise that it will take time for more mature and flexible systems to be embedded fully.
“The programme of talks has been useful in clarifying thoughts on a range of issues. I therefore propose to issue additional Departmental Advice to support schools as they move into the crucial phase of preparing for appraisals and decisions on pay progression.”
Big debate on the teachers strike on our Facebook page this morning. Here's some more comments:
John Paine said: "Who's going to pay my bill for taking my son out of school without my permission ... if these idiots are not happy with 14 weeks holiday and double the average pension , they need to change jobs......no commitment to educating our kids."
Belinda Rondeau said: "Definitely unfair to parents having to take time off, rearrange their situation because of the strike. Teachers want to strike why don't there agree to do it in the summer holidays. Plenty of time then. Because they know what uproar and the effect it will have all round. . Totally unfair to parents. .!!! Teachers/governors etc do it in your own time Please."
Teachers are expected to be leaving from Covingham Square to Bristol for a march and rally at 9.30am.
More Facebook comments below. Join the debate here.
Kerry Jones said: "I have 4 children that attend the same school 3 are going in and one is staying off.... im fuming..... the tantrums ive had this morning trying to explain why my eldest is off!"
Danny Field added: "Why is it that when teachers strike, everyone goes on like its the end of the world, when other unions go on strike nothing gets said or anything, firefighters went on strike over new years, cant remember that making the top headline."
Looks like you've all got plenty to say on the teachers strike over on our Facebook page.
Amanda Franks said: "The knock on effect is huge. I run a recruitment agency and parents can't make it to their temporary assignments and lose a days pay as we lose a days revenue. Clients aren't in and therefore interviews are cancelled or rearranged. The frustration is striking is a luxury saved for the public sector. In the commercial world we just battle on. That said, I do appreciate their argument."
Sheena Fitchett said: "Its a joke! I have had to take the day off work, which I won't get paid for, because one of my children has to stay home while the other still has to go. Even though they attend the same school. I see this as an unauthorised absence, but can I fine the school? No, I can't."
In other news, here's today's front page. Full story here.
Several schools are only partially closed, with many only opening for Years 10 and 11.
Among them is Commonweal School, which has 35 members of the NUT. It will only be opening for the older students, who may have exams to prepare for.
However, due to the shortages, Year 10 will be having a day of activities, involving looking at career choices and A levels for next year, ahead of its sixth form college opening.
Swindon Academy principal Ruth Robinson said: "Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to find alternative solutions, there is a greater impact on the secondary phase. This means that the school will be closed for pupils in years 7 – 10.
"However, we have been able to make arrangements to ensure that year 11, year 12 and year 13 pupils can be taught on the day of the strike. These year groups all have public examinations in the coming weeks, and it is important that they attend school on this day.
"Our main concern is the safety of our students. The decision to close the school for the classes and year groups listed above has not been taken lightly. A significant number of staff have elected to take lawful industrial action therefore we have no choice but to take appropriate steps to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of all of our students."
At Swindon Academy, the primary phase is affected, with five classes closed for the day. At Alton Close, the three classes that are closed are Cedar, Oak and Hazel.
At Beech Avenue, the two classes that are closed are Class 1 and Class 2.
In a letter to parents, Isambard School, which is entirely closed, said: “Regulation dictates that schools are unable to ask teachers who are not striking to cover the classes of those teachers who are striking. In addition, supply teachers who are members of the NUT are not making themselves available for cover for teachers on strike.
“The school is unable to request teachers who are taking strike action to set work.”
Many of the schools affected by the strike have taken the decision to close, or partially close, because they cannot provide safe cover. Due to an agreement between unions, other staff cannot step in to provide cover and agency staff cannot be brought in.
Further updates -
- Nova Hreod –Closed with the exception of Year 11
- Swindon Academy – Closed to Years 7,8,9,10
- Lydiard Park Academy: Closed to Years 7,8,9
- Highworth Warneford – Closed to Years 7,8,9
- Kingsdown – Closed to Years 8,9,10
- Ridgeway School – Open
- Bradon Forest School – Only open to Years 10 & 11
- Commonweal – Closed to Years 7,8,9
- St Joseph’s - Open
Peter Smith, secretary of the Swindon Division of the NUT, said earlier this week: “In a survey which the government sat on for almost a year it has been revealed the workload some teachers have to carry out, with some not being able to see their families because of what they have to do.
“Two out of five teachers new to the profession are considering leaving after a few years with many more who have worked longer considering leaving.”
Many teachers who are in the NUT and striking will be heading down to a mass rally and march taking place in Bristol today.
The main cause of anger is what they say are poor working conditions and pay. Union leaders say the battle is for the future of education.
Further complete closures:
- CLOSED: Isambard School
- CLOSED: Churchfields
- CLOSED: Royal Wootton Bassett Academy
- CLOSED: Dorcan Academy
Some more confirmed school openings...
- OPEN: Wanborough Primary School
- OPEN: Westrop Primary School
- OPEN: Catherine Wayte Primary School
Here is the first batch of schools that confirmed their status in advance.
- OPEN: Even Swindon Primary School
- CLOSED: Nythe Primary School
- CLOSED: Lainesmead Primary School
- OPEN: Wroughton Junior School
- OPEN: Haydonleigh Primary School
- OPEN: Bishopstone Church of England Primary School
Away from the strikes for a moment, traffic on the A419 is flowing again after an early-morning accident. Travel updates here.
Here is some background on today's strikes, with the National Union of Teachers predicting almost every school is likely to be hit.
The NUT has nearly 25,000 members in the region and members have voted to strike in defence of pay, pensions and conditions of service.
Good morning. Welcome to a special early edition of LIVE NEWS. As well as bringing you the latest breaking stories and information throughout the day, we'll pay specific attention to today's school strikes, keeping you updated on closures and providing reaction.