Twenty one schools across West Suffolk are closed or partially closed today due to a mass walk out by teachers over pay, pensions and working conditions.
Across the county, 98 schools have been affected by the one day strike by members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).
Graham White, secretary for the NUT in Suffolk, said teachers were concerned about the Education Secreatry Michael Gove’s plans ‘to limit pay increases to teachers’ through ‘very strict performance related pay’.
He added: “It’s also about pensions. The Government proposed teachers will have to stay until they’re 68 at the moment. They’re going to have to pay more and get less out of it at the end. One could understand it if there was a crisis in terms of the pension pot but there isn’t.
“He’s going to make conditions for teachers much worse. We’re facing a crisis in terms of recruiting and retaining teachers.”
“I’m really sorry for the pupils. It isn’t something we do lightly. We’re concerned about the future of education and unfortunately this strike is the only way we have to try to get Mr Gove to rethink his position.”
Cllr Lisa Chambers, cabinet member for education at Suffolk County Council, said she was ‘disappointed’ by the strike.
She said: “It’s really important that our kids are in school learning. This is a national argument between the unions and Government. As a parent and cabinet member I really object to this being taken out on the young people in Suffolk.”
The schools affected include:
Honington Primary - two classes closed
Howard Primary - nursery open
Ickworth Park Primary - closed
Lakenheath Primary - half of early years, Years 5 and 6 will be open
St Edmundsbury Primary - two classes closed all day and one class for half a day
Beyton Middle - closed
Blackbourne Middle - closed
Combs Middle - cllosed
Hardwick Middle - closed
Howard Middle - closed
Ixworth Middle - closed
Needham Market Middle - closed
Stowmarket Middle - closed
Westley Middle - closed
King Edward VI School - Years 11, 12 and 13 open
County Upper - no Year 9 classes
Mildenhall College - open to Year 7, 8 and Sixth Form
Stowmarket High - some classes cancelled
Stowupland High - open to Sixth Form
Thurston College - closed
Albany Centre - closed