Teachers’strike set to shut South Tyneside schools

ACTION LOOMS ... teachers plan a one-day strike in South Tyneside.
ACTION LOOMS ... teachers plan a one-day strike in South Tyneside.
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The majority of schools in South Tyneside look set to close next week as teachers stage a one-day strike.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) are walking out on Thursday, October 17, in a row over pensions, pay and working conditions.

It is the third in a series of rolling regional one-day strikes, which started in the north west in June and continued in the Midlands, Yorkshire, Humberside and the east of England earlier this month.

Teachers in the North East will be joined by colleagues in the south east, south west and London.

Headteachers have been given until the end of this week to notify South Tyneside Council of their plans for the day of action.

Jill McManus, divisional secretary of the NUT in South Tyneside, said: “It is very hard to tell in advance how many members will be taking part.

“However, the last time the NUT and NASUWT went out together, nearly all the schools were closed because between us, we have got 85 to 90 per cent of teachers.

“Talking to teachers in school, their feelings are pretty strong about the issues they are striking about.

“Putting these two things together, I would expect support for the strike to be strong.”

Some schools have already taken the decision to close, so parents can make childcare arrangements.

South Tyneside Council is urging parents to check its dedicated website for the latest information, but they will also receive a letter from their child’s school.

A spokesman said: “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.

“We are expecting headteachers to finalise their decisions this week, once they know the intentions of their members of staff, and each school has been asked to inform the council of its decision.

“Schools will write to parents to let them know what will happen on October 17.

“The information will also be published on the council’s website at www.southtyneside.info/schoolclosures.”

It is understood there will be no pickets in South Tyneside, but union members are expected to attend a rally in Durham.

Teachers in South Tyneside last walked out in a row over pensions in June 2011, which closed 36 schools and affected a further 19.

Twitter: @shieldsgazedu