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Strike set to hit Lowestoft schools

PUBLISHED: 17:31 19 April 2008 | UPDATED: 20:11 05 July 2010

HUNDREDS of schoolchildren across Lowestoft and Waveney look set to be forced to stay at home next week as the full impact of the impending teachers' strike begin to emerge.

HUNDREDS of schoolchildren across Lowestoft and Waveney look set to be forced to stay at home next week as the full impact of the impending teachers' strike begin to emerge.

Headteachers are opting to close their doors completely or cancel classes, while many high schools are only able to open their sixth forms.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is staging its first walkout for 21 years on Thursday, April 24 over a pay dispute.

So far more than 50 schools in Suffolk have announced they will be closing or partially closing although staff members are not legally bound to tell headteachers that they are walking out until 48 hours before.

The union says: “At the same time as their pay has been cut, teachers face a heavy workload, typically of more than 50 hours a week - hard work for the benefit of children. Surely they should expect appropriate recognition for this work in terms of their pay?”

Graham White, an association secretary with the Suffolk branch of the NUT, has estimated around two-thirds of the 3,000 NUT members in Suffolk will be involved in the strike action.

“The whole point of strike action is to make a statement to the Government, so from our point of view the more schools that close the better,” he said.

To reduce the impact on pupils, many high schools in Suffolk are making efforts to keep facilities open to pupils sitting exams this summer, and a spokesman from the NUT stressed that pupils taking practical exams on Thursday will not be affected.

Graham White, of Suffolk NUT, said it was “very sad” that pupils were affected but highlighted the long term goals of the action to secure better rates of pay.

“It will ensure that future generations of pupils will get a better standard of education and that in the future we can attract the very best people into the profession,” he said.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council has advised parents to stay in touch with individual schools as well as keeping an eye on local media to stay up-to-date with the current situation.

TOTAL CLOSURES IN WAVENEY: Beccles Middle, Bungay High, Bungay Middle, Elm Tree Middle, Foxborough Middle, Gisleham Middle, Kirkley Middle, Pakefield Middle, Roman Hill Middle, St Edmunds Catholic Primary at Bungay, Warren Special School, Worlingham Primary, Worlingham Middle.

PARTIAL CLOSURES IN WAVENEY: Benjamin Britten High (Closed to Years 9, 10 and 11. Open to Sixth Form and those taking exams), Denes High (closed, but some sixth-form provision may be available), Harris Middle (mainly open, a few classes will be affected; parents will be informed of those classes affected on Monday), Kirkley Community High (closed apart from Sixth Form and those taking exams or on BTEC courses), Oulton Broad Primary (years three and four closed morning only), Reydon Primary (only nursery will open), and Whitton Green Primary (nursery and year three will be closed).

Regular updates on which schools are affected can be found on Suffolk County Council's website www.suffolk.gov.uk.

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