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HAVE YOUR SAY: Teachers in Dorset set to strike
5:50am Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
TEACHERS in Dorset are planning a one-day strike in a row over pay, pensions and changes to the education system.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) have announced action will be taken on October 17 which is likely to affect most of the schools in the county.
There are around 2,000 members of the teachers' unions in Dorset and the majority are expected to take part in the national walk-out which has seen rolling strikes take place across England.
Geoff Cooke, secretary of NUT Dorset, said the main issue is over the changes to education and 'privatisation' of the state system.
He said: “We are expecting the majority of members to be on strike but there's no compulsion, it's a matter of individual choice.
“So far the feedback has been virtually 95 per cent have said they are going to be taking action.
“I would think this will mean that most schools in the county will be closed all day.
“The reasons are that teachers want to protect state education in schools, it's partly about pay and conditions but the much bigger picture is about how education has been changed without proper consultation.
“Things like the national curriculum fiasco, league tables being changed and the exam fiasco where they changed the goalposts half way through the year.”
He added: “The message we want to get across is we are trying to preserve a proper full state education for students and parents.
“We don't want it broken up and privatised which is what is gradually happening in schools.”
Mick Richardson, secretary of NASUWT Dorset, said the strike is a last resort.
He said: “There's a lot of anger and concern amongst teachers that their jobs are not safe and could change and that working condition could be imposed.
“The losers of this will be the children because teachers won't have as much time for teaching.
“It's a rarity for teachers to strike, it doesn't happen often and is a last resort and indicates the frustration and anger that they are not being listened to.
“There will be one day's inconvenience but the alternative is a greatly reduced education service for the students and in the long term they would lose out more if we didn't take action.”
COUNCIL 'ENCOURAGES' SCHOOLS TO STAY OPEN
Mark Loveys, lead advisor for school improvement with the county council, said: “We are encouraging schools to stay open.
“However, the final decision as to whether a school remains open, closed or partially closed lies with the headteacher and the chair of governors.
“All schools have been asked to give parents, school transport and pupils as much notice as possible.”
Schools should be informing parents directly if headteachers and governors decide to close or partially close and transport should run as normal where schools are open and with modified services in areas affected by a school closure.
For information about which schools may be affected visit www.dorsetforyou.com
RESIDENTS AND PARENTS HAVE THEIR SAY ONLINE
Dorset residents joined the debate online, some were criticising the strikes and others support the decision to take action.
Kaylee said: “I'm pretty angry that we as parents cannot take our children out of school or a fine will be issued.
“Yet the schools can take any day and strike regardless on who it affects.”
James said : “So teachers' strike equals kids off which will probably mean some parents have got to take time off or organise childcare.
“I'm sick of all this money grabbing, be thankful you have a job and be happy you're getting paid.”
Debbie said: “Teachers are important I agree but my job is important but my pay is poor no sick pay.
“They are getting better than most of us.”
Adele said: “Teachers are people too, they deserve fair pay.
“It can't be an easy job, not if I remember what school was like anyway.
“Most kids don't respect teachers but adults, and especially the government, really should.”
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