schools braced for closures

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PARENTS are being urged to prepare alternative childcare as strike action over pensions threatens to close a number of schools across Suffolk on Wednesday.

Schools in the area are currently deciding whether they will be able to remain open during the national day of industrial action by teachers, support staff and other public sector workers.

Members of Britain’s biggest public sector trade union, Unison, will be congregating in The Butter Market, Bury St Edmunds, at 10.45am and marching along Abbeygate Street towards Angel Hill.There, the crowd will be addressed by Sam Leigh, from Unison, and other trade union representatives.

Unison is also planning to picket all five entrances to West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds.

Riverwalk School, in Bury, has already confirmed it will be closing for the day and Suffolk County Council advise checking the schools closure page on its website for up-to-date information.

The Suffolk Resilience Forum, the organisation responsible for maintaining public services across the county in the event of a major incident or emergency, is urging parents to start preparing alternative childcare.

Speaking as chairman of the forum, Andy Fry, director of public protection at Suffolk County Council, said: “We will not know the extent of the action or full details of the schools affected until a few days before the planned strike date.

“It is, however, important for parents and guardians to start preparing now for the very real possibility that their children’s schools will be closed on November 30.

“Our primary concern is the safety and well being of Suffolk people and I will be working with my counterparts in other agencies to ensure that we are as well prepared as possible, and essential services are maintained throughout any strike action.”

A spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital said: “We have contingency plans in place to ensure that we can continue to provide safe services for our patients during periods of industrial action.”

For up-to-date information on school closures, visit schoolclosures.suffolk.gov.uk