Opinions split in Norfolk over today’s strike action

Opinion is split in the region as up to 600,000 teachers, lecturers and other civil servants prepare for today's nationwide strike in protest at planned changes to their pensions.

Of the hundreds of people who have voted in our online poll, 54pc were against the industrial action, with 46pc supporting the walk-outs.

Across the UK, including in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, thousands of schools are likely to be closed or disrupted by the action by members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

In Norfolk, the impact on children will be negligible as most schools were already closed to children to allow pupils to go to the Royal Norfolk Show.

Months ago, the day was instead scheduled for teacher training. But that is now likely to be disrupted as many teachers across the county walk out over the pensions issue, which has 'wound up' many school staff, according to one Norfolk headteacher.

Ian Clayton, who leads Thorpe St Andrew School on Laundry Lane, said: 'There's a lot of concern about what's happening and the way it has been handled. I've not known staff so wound up about a particular topic for some time.'

He said 40 out of 125 staff were expected to stay away from the school's training day today.

Most Read

Rob Anthony, associate headteacher at The Hewett School on Cecil Road in Norwich, said the school had long ago replaced today's training day with evening training, and said: 'We weren't expecting any teaching staff to come in anyway.'

He added: 'Teachers are very unhappy over what the government is proposing over their pensions. 'There are people here who are not in the least bit militant, but who are very angry about the changes.

'I think, had we been open, we would have had a significant number of staff going on strike.'

In Suffolk, where today was scheduled as a normal day, scores of schools will be closed, with many others open only to limited year groups.

Sir John Leman High in Beccles will closed to all but year 12 students. headteacher Jeremy Rowe said: 'There's a lot of genuine anger about the proposals. Teachers signed up to a properly planned and costed deal and to have it changed seems really unfair to us. There's a real sense of moral outrage.'

In a latter to parents, Andrew Hine, headteacher at Benjamin Britten High School in Lowestoft, said: 'Since I cannot ensure an adequate level of supervision and education experience for all students, Benjamin Britten will close to students in years nine and 10. Sixth form teaching will continue as normal.'

Along with schools, further education colleges and newer universities, areas affected by today's strike include courts and probation services, driving test centres, customs and passport services, job centres and tax and benefits offices.

? Follow @stevedownes1973 on Twitter and join the debate about the strike action.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter