SCHOOLS across Uttoxeter will be forced to close down, as teachers take strike action in protest of changes to pay and pensions.
The one-day walkout on Tuesday is part of a national dispute between the two main classroom teacher unions, the NUT and the NASUWT, and the Government over new changes to the pay and pensions system.
Thomas Alleyne’s High School and all three middle schools in Uttoxeter will be closing for the day on Tuesday, October 1, meaning parents will have to make other arrangements for their children.
Nick Brown, head teacher of Oldfields Hall Middle School said: “It is with regret that we are closing for the day on Tuesday.
“Having carefully reviewed the implications of the strike on our staffing levels, we have taken the decision to close the school on that day on health and safety grounds, as there will be insufficient staff available to be able to supervise the children safely.”
Steve Bardon, head teacher of Ryecroft Middle School said: “Following a risk assessment, we have found that it would not be safe to keep the school open on Tuesday.”
Windsor Park Middle School have also confirmed they will be closing for the day.
A spokesman for Thomas Alleyne’s High School said: “Having carefully reviewed the implications of the strike on our staffing levels, we have taken the decision to regrettably close the school on October 1.
“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
“The school will re-open as normal on October 2.”
The industrial action on October 1 will see strikes across the Midlands, co-ordinated by the two largest teacher unions, the NASUWT and the NUT, as the next phase of their protest at new policies affecting pay, pensions and working hours.
The strikes, which will be rolled out across England on different days this term, are likely to culminate in a national day of action before Christmas.
One of the key issues relates to Government reforms coming into effect this autumn.
The annual salary increments which many teachers used to get automatically are being replaced by a new system of performance-related pay.
Unions say it effectively rips up the national pay framework, leaving individual schools to decide how much their staff should get paid.
NUT Midlands secretary Kit Johnson said: “It’s not as simple as it just being a case of not being offered enough money.
“The Secretary of State is attacking teachers’ national pay contract, by proposing to move decisions on teacher pay down to individual school level.
“We’re calling on Mr Gove to announce details of his pension scheme, which he still hasn’t done.
“Teacher morale is also a big issue as it is currently at rock bottom thanks to his attacks through the media.”
But Education Secretary Michael Gove has stressed the changes are about rewarding good teachers with better pay, and insists there is ‘no excuse’ for strike action.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “At the start of the new academic year, the last thing teachers wish to be doing is preparing for further industrial action.
“It is a great shame that the Education Secretary has let things get to this stage.
“With pay pensions and working conditions being systematically attacked and an Education Secretary who refuses to listen or negotiate teachers now however have no other choice.
“Michael Gove has demoralised an entire profession, it’s time that he started to listen for the sake of education.”