HALF of South Tyneside’s schools will close on Thursday as teachers stage a one-day strike over pensions, pay and conditions.
The rest will remain open or partially open as the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Union of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) take part in regional action.
Leaders of the two unions, who represent 90 per cent of the borough’s teaching staff, expect strong support for the walk-out.
But headteachers at some schools have managed to keep disruption to a minimum.
Fourteen schools will remain fully open, with others opening to certain classes and year groups.
Three of the borough’s four stand-alone nursery units will stay open, while all four special schools will close, along with the Beacon Centre in South Shields.
Of the borough’s nine secondary schools, three will remain partially open.
Year 7 and post-11 autistic unit pupils will still be expected to attend Jarrow School, while Whitburn C of E Academy remains open to Year 11 pupils only.
St Joseph’s RC Academy in Hebburn is also opening its doors to Year 11 pupils and sixth form students.
The majority of closures affect primary schools.
South Tyneside Council is urging parents to check its dedicated website – www.southtyneside.info/schoolclosures – for the latest information.
A spokesman for the council said parents should also receive a letter from their child’s school.
He added: “The council has provided guidance to schools on how to decide whether they will be able to stay open, partially open for some year groups, or need to close fully.”
It is understood there will be no pickets in South Tyneside, but union members are expected to attend a rally in Durham.
Mike McDonald, NUT regional secretary, said: “Teachers deeply regret the disruption caused by this strike action to parents and pupils. The Government’s refusal, however, to engage to resolve the dispute over pay, pensions, job cuts and workload means that they have no alternative other than to demonstrate the seriousness of their concerns.
“The NUT and NASUWT continue to seek talks with the Education Secretary.
“There can be no doubt about the feeling of upset and anger amongst teachers about the continual undermining of their profession.
“It really is time that the Government listened.”
Teachers in South Tyneside last walked out in a row over pensions in June 2011, which closed 36 schools and affected a further 19.