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Parents braced for impact of one-day teachers’ strike
MOST parents are unlikely to learn until the last minute if next week’s teachers’ strike will close their school.
Teachers will hold industrial action on Thursday, October 17 in a move that is expected to affect all of the county’s 278 schools.
Last night Badgemore Community Primary School in Henley became the first in the county to confirm it would close, with Mabel Prichard School in Blackbird Leys and The Warriner School, Bloxham, expecting part-closures.
It is understood that some schools will not be able to say anything until the day itself.
And county cabinet member for schools Melinda Tilley was last night unable to predict how widespread the impact would be.
She said: “Nobody will be able to judge accurately how or how many schools will be affected in Oxfordshire.
“Parents have daily routines, including travel, based around their child’s day at school and their own workplace commitments.
“They’ll no doubt want to be aware, as far in advance as possible, that those arrangements may have to change if the school at which their child attends is affected by the strike.”
The strike has been organised by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) in response to proposed changes to pay and pensions.
Headington mum-of-three Alvira Khan-Gordon, who has two children at Windmill Primary School, said: “As a parent, I could be affected by a school closure but I hold my kids’ teachers in high enough regard to support them should a strike happen.
“They deserve far more than the likes of performance-related pay, bigger workloads and unfavourable pension changes imposed upon them.”
For Summertown resident Payashi Garry, the action could mean finding last-minute childcare if her four-year-old son Joseph’s school has to close.
But Dr Garry, 32, who works at the John Radcliffe Hospital, said she supported the teachers’ reasons for action.
She said: “I don’t agree with the sustained Government campaign against the public sector.”
Windmill Primary School headteacher Lynn Knapp – who is a member of the National Association of Head Teachers and will not be striking – said: “At the moment, no one has confirmed they will be striking. Last time we went for part-closure and I suspect that’s what we will be doing again because we have people in different unions.
“I completely support the strike. It’s a person’s right and I went on strike last time.”
NUT general secretary Christine Blower said industrial action was “the last thing” teachers wanted to do at the beginning of a new school year.
And NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “The attacks on teachers are relentless.
“The reward for their hard work, dedication and commitment has been a vicious assault on pay, conditions and professionalism.”
Department for Education spokesman Leigh Dowd said: “It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are striking over the Government’s measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more.”
Schools will gradually be announcing their plans at www.oxford shire.gov.uk
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