Fylde coast school closures possible as teachers prepare to strike

Education strike is looming. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Education strike is looming. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
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Parents are being warned of disruption ahead of a teaching strike next week.

National Union of Teachers (NUT) members are set to walk out in a row, partly over working conditions, which could see schools across the Fylde coast close on Tuesday.

We urge the NUT again not to proceed with this action and to work with us to resolve their dispute at the negotiation table instead of playing politics with children’s future

Government

Blackpool Council has asked schools under its control for more information, which is set to become clearer in the coming days, though it has already warned parents the strike ’may result in some closure and reduction to our services on this day’.

Schools are now busy planning for all eventualities, with senior teachers at the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT), which runs Unity Academy and Aspire Academy, in Blackpool, Montgomery High School, in Bispham, and Hambleton Primary Academy, set to meet later today.

The NUT’s regional secretary for the North West, Peter Middleman, defended the industrial action, which he said comes as a last resort.

Members voted for it by more than 9-1 in favour.

“We do recognise there will be disruption caused to parents who will be forced to take time off work for childcare reasons,” Mr Middleman told The Gazette yesterday.

“But we think a short-term level of disruption can help avoid the defamation of our profession and we make no apology for that.”

The union wants increasing funding to schools and 
education, a guarantee
on terms and conditions in all types of schools, and to resume negotiations 
on teacher contracts to 
allow workload to be addressed.

The NUT, the UK’s largest teaching union, has invited education secretary Nicky Morgan to hold talks this week in a bid to avert the strike.

But a spokesman for the Department of Education said: “We are already in regular and constructive talks with the NUT on pay and conditions.

“It is disappointing that they have chosen to continue with this unnecessary and damaging strike, which less than a quarter of its members voted for, despite our ongoing commitment to formal talks addressing their concerns.

“Industrial action causes disruption to children’s education, to their parents who have to take time out of work to arrange childcare and also damages the reputation of the profession.

“We urge the NUT again not to proceed with this action and to work with us to resolve their dispute at the negotiation table instead of playing politics with children’s future.”