Teacher Strike: Is My School Closed?
26 March 2014, 06:00 | Updated: 26 March 2014, 07:15
Dozens of schools across Suffolk and Norfolk will be closed today as teachers walk out on strike again.
The strike, called by the National Union of Teachers, could force some schools to close to some or all pupils.
The action has been condemned by the Department for Education (DfE) who say it will disrupt parents' lives and damage children's education.
The NUT's ongoing industrial action focus on three issues, changes to pay, pensions and workload.
Speaking ahead of the walkout, NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said that the strike was a ``last resort''.
``We have been trying to persuade Michael Gove to change his mind, he is unwilling,'' he said.
``Michael Gove's policies are exhausting and demoralising teachers and that's very bad and disruptive for education.
``Thousands of good people are leaving the profession, we are building up to a teacher shortage and our children deserve energetic and enthusiastic teachers not demoralised and exhausted ones.''
The DfE has said that parents will ``struggle to understand'' why the NUT was pressing ahead with its strike.
``They called for talks to avoid industrial action, we agreed to their request, and talks have been taking place weekly,'' a spokesman said.
``Despite this constructive engagement with their concerns, the NUT is taking action that will disrupt parents' lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession.''
And yesterday, David Cameron's official spokesman said that the Prime Minister would call on teachers not to strike because the action ``disrupts children's education and children's families.''
Andy Major, operations manager at Emergency Childcare said that the strike is set to leave working parents with a problem.
The firm had seen a ``massive influx'' of emergency bookings by yesterday morrning, he said.
``The strike will undoubtedly have a big impact on businesses whose staff will not have a back-up plan in place, forced to take time off to look after their children,'' Mr Major added.
Mr Gove yesterday wrote to seven union bosses, setting out the progress he believed had been made in an ongoing programme of talks between the DfE and these teaching unions.
In it, he said he wanted to underline his commitment to the talks process.
But the NUT said that the letter showed how little progress had been made in the talks.
The NUT has been embroiled in its current dispute with the Government for more than two years, and staged a series of regional strikes with the NASUWT teaching union last year. Between them they represent the vast majority of teachers.