Lowestoft schools affected by teacher strike
PUBLISHED: 12:22 26 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:24 26 March 2014
Hundreds of pupils at three Lowestoft high schools have the day off today due to a National Union of Teachers strike.
The industrial action by the NUT saw only years 11 at Benjamin Britten High School and East Point Academy and year 10 at Pakefield High School stay open today.
The Ashley School Academy Trust is closed and Suffolk County Council also said Roman Hill, Poplars and Meadow primary schools are partially closed during the strike action.
Across Suffolk the council reported 13 local authority-run schools are closed and 59 are partially closed.
Teachers are striking over the introduction by education secretary Michael Gove of a performance-related pay structure and a tougher pensions package which would see them receive their pension at the age of 67.
The secretary of Suffolk NUT, Graham White, said: “It’s very regrettable that we need to take this action but we are left with no option, we are still waiting for Mr Gove to get around the table and discuss these proposals.
“There has been a meeting with the Department of Education to which Mr Gove did not turn up. He is not prepared to discuss the dispute.
“He’s prepared to discuss how we implement the pension changes but not whether they should be implemented, which seems to me not to be a very helpful attitude.”
As part of the industrial action a rally was also organised in Ipswich today.
Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education, skills and young people, said the dispute was a national one and children in Suffolk should not be dragged into it.
She said: “Many people will ask how teachers can justify going on strike over pay and workload concerns at the same time as wanting to improve educational attainment.
“On the relatively rare occasions that teachers go on strike, we support heads and encourage them to plan ahead and aim to keep schools open wherever possible. We know that many teachers won’t actually want to strike and will work with heads to keep their schools running.”