DORSET teachers walked out of their classrooms in the latest strike over pay and conditions.
Many parents had to take a day off work to look after children as thousands of students had an extra day at home due to strike action. Nine schools closed in total while a further ten were partially closed.
Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) held the one-day strike after they say there had been no significant talks about their concerns with Education Secretary Michael Gove, inset.
Pay, working conditions, pensions, stress levels and the number of young teachers leaving the profession are all concerns union bosses want to discuss with Mr Gove. It is estimated around 7,000 students in the South and West Dorset area were off yesterday as schools across Dorset closed or partially closed.
Many schools closed to younger pupils but remained open to those in Years 11, 12 and 13.
Dorset County Council encouraged as many schools as possible to remain open, but said the final decision on whether to close a school would be down to the headteacher and chairman of governors.
South Dorset primary school teacher Jane Andrews attended a rally of teachers in Wimborne yesterday. She said her message to Mr Gove would be: “We are not teaching, we are assessing.
“I feel we should change our names to assessors. All they are interested in is league tables.
“Teaching now is driven for assessments, not for making children creative, rounded people.”
She added: “I think he should come into a school like ours and he should try teaching for a week and do the marking and assessments and meetings and at the same time do something else we do like reports or levelling of writing. It’s not just teaching. It’s not just a day in school.”
TEACHERS in Dorset attended a rally to make their feelings known.
Members of the NUT held the rally in Wimborne yesterday.
Regional executive representative Robin Head said: “I’m very pleased with the turnout. I know the majority of parents are supportive even though some of them have had to make childcare arrangements and we do apologise for that because we don’t want to be doing this.
“We gave Michael Gove several opportunities to talk with us about these issues but he hasn’t done, so there is nothing else we can do except to take this action.
“In general we are finding the public’s reaction very positive so I think our message is getting across.”