Dozens of schools announce strike closure in Gloucestershire
THOUSANDS of schoolchildren are looking forward to a day off school next Thursday as more than 5,400 teachers go on strike.
Dozens of county schools have already announced their closure or part-closure as an argument over Government plans for performance-related pay, work until the age of 68 and a pensions struggle spill over into strike action.
One 33-year-old teacher, who did not want to be named, said: "At the age of 68 you would struggle to teach because it is physically demanding. Most teachers will struggle. They don't stay until 65 so staying until 68 is outrageous.
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"Performance-related pay will lead to a situation that teachers won't want to work in some of the most deprived areas.
"This is just another Government target and league table that we don't need. The situation is only going to get worse."
Some 5,400 Gloucestershire teachers are expected to join the industrial action as the list of schools announcing they will shut down for the day spiralled.
It is part of a continuing campaign of rolling regional strikes involving members of the NUT and NASUWT unions.
Gloucestershire NUT spokesman John Pemberthy said: "This is such a historic strike, large numbers of headteachers will close their schools. We know that many parents share our concerns about the Government's privatisation agenda, failure to deal with shortage of places, and failure to invest in weaker schools due to the large amount of cash he is throwing at academies and free schools."
Jo Grills, operations director for education at Gloucestershire County Council, said: "It is up to individual schools to ask their staff how they intend to react to instructions from their union. Schools then need to make a decision about whether they can cover classes and stay open or whether they need to close.
"The decision by schools to close lies with headteachers and governors and depends on how many staff they have to ensure the safe supervision of pupils. Headteachers have worked closely with the county council to make sure that parents had as much notice as possible."
Gloucester area schools that have already announced their full or part closures are Beaufort Co-operative Academy, Hatherley Infant, Longlevens Infant, St Paul's Primary and St Peter's High School. Stroud area schools that are closing or part-closing are Avening Primary, Cam Woodfield Infant and Juniors, Dursley Primary and Severn View Primary Academy.
Forest of Dean schools affected include Drybrook, Lakers School, Littledean Primary, Newnham St Peter's, Offa's Mead, Primrose Hill, Ruardean, Soudley, The Dean Academy, Woolaston and Yorkley Primary School.
More schools are expected to announce their closure today. A full list is being updated at gloucestershire. gov.uk/closedschools.