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County's teachers to strike over pay row

PUBLISHED: 12:11 18 April 2008 | UPDATED: 20:10 05 July 2010

TEACHERS at six schools in Lowestoft and Southwold are set to strike next week in a row over pay.

Gisleham and Foxborough Middle School, Denes High School and the Warren Special School will close on Thursday, while only Reydon Primary School's nursery will remain open and at Whitton Green Primary, year three and the nursery will be shut.

TEACHERS at six schools in Lowestoft and Southwold are set to strike next week in a row over pay.

Gisleham and Foxborough Middle School, Denes High School and the Warren Special School will close on Thursday, while only Reydon Primary School's nursery will remain open and at Whitton Green Primary, year three and the nursery will be shut.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is staging its first walkout for 21 years and so far 29 schools across Suffolk have announced their plans to support the action, either partially, by suspending some classes or year groups for the day, or fully by closing completely.

The NUT is demanding an increase from the government's offer of a 2.45pc pay rise for this year and 2.3pc for the next two years, to at least 4pc - the level of inflation.

But the strike could be exacerbated by other teaching unions, which have advised their members to do nothing to fill the gaps left by striking NUT staff.

According to Peter Byatt, association secretary for the NUT in Lowestoft the strike is up to the headteacher of each individual school and it will be based on whether the health, safety and satisfactory education of pupils can be guaranteed in the absence of teachers taking action, having conducted proper risk assessments.

He said: “This action is for a very positive purpose to have teachers properly rewarded and motivated and to ensure that teaching is an attractive career for the future. That is for everybody's benefit, particularly that of today's and tomorrow's children.”

NUT school representatives are being asked to advise the head teacher of the NUT members who will be called upon to take strike action, giving at least two days' notice.

Graham White, an association secretary with the Suffolk branch of the NUT said he thought closures would be patchy and between primary, middle and high schools.

“We have a large membership - around 3,000, which covers the majority of schools in Suffolk, but not every member will strike.”

It is thought more schools in Lowestoft and Southwold could join the strike over the next few days and parents are being urged to keep in touch with their school. Denes High School may allow some provisions for the sixth form.

Any more closures announced will be posted on The Journal's website www.lowestoftjournal24.co.uk

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