Wakefield schools closed as teachers take strike action

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Dozens of schools are closed today as teachers take strike action.

Hundreds of teachers across the district have walked out in a protest over pay, pensions and working conditions.

Yesterday 39 schools confirmed they would be closed, another 16 are planning to partially close and others have not made their intentions known to the council.

The industrial action has been organised by The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT). Between them the Unions membership includes more than 85 per cent of teachers across the district.

Wakefield and District NUT branch secretary Sally Kincaid said: “Teachers are striking not just to defend their pay, conditions and pensions, because they want all children and young people in our schools to be in a happy, creative, learning environment, The Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove is constantly undermining the education system: reducing the number of staff required to work in a nursery, pushing in new curriculum without any research or resources and against the advice of teachers and education academics, removing the requirement for teachers to be qualified to teach. Teachers would welcome support from parents. carers and pupils as well as anyone else who cares about the education of our youngsters.”

The dispute centres on changes to public sector workers’ pensions which will see teachers work longer, pay in more and get less and also on planned changes to the way teachers are paid.

And unions object to plans to scrap national pay agreements, remove pay rises based on length of service and introduce performance-related pay.

Union leaders also say teachers are angry at the way the profession is being treated by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

But a Department for Education spokesman said: “All strikes will do is disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.”

For a full list of schools and how they are affected visit http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/Education/Schools/october-2013.htm