VOTE: District’s teachers to take strike action

Cathal Devlin.
Cathal Devlin.

Many schools across the district are to close for a day this week after teaching unions agreed to take strike action.

The NUT and NASUWT – collectively representing around nine in 10 teachers – confirmed they would stage the first in a series of walkouts tomorrow, Thursday.

The action will be followed by regional strikes in other parts of the country in September and October before at least one national walkout in November.

Union leaders said they had been pushed into the protest because of the government’s reforms to pay and pensions and a failure to negotiate with the profession properly.

Central Lancaster High School, Skerton High School, Morecambe Road School, Halton St Wilfrid’s Primary, Our Lady of Lourdes Primary in Carnforth, Skerton St Luke’s, The Chadwick Centre, Torrisholme, Trumacar, Westgate, Melling St Wilfrid’s, Silverdale, West End and Appletree nursery will all be closed completely,

Bolton-le-Sands, Dolphinholme, Lancaster Road, Over Kellet, Overton St Helen’s, St Joseph’s and The Loyne School will partially close.

One local teacher said staff have been backed into a corner.

Geography teacher Cathal Devlin said he wants to stand up for his colleagues, the education system and the thousands of children who feel their qualifications are worthless.

Mr Devlin, 33, said: “From a political point of view you very rarely hear the opinions of young people or teachers and that’s why I wanted to speak out.

“We don’t want to strike for strike’s sake but we have done it to minimise the impact on our exam groups.

“It’s one day of disruption to make a point and to highlight pay and conditions and the damaging policies the government has brought in.

“I really do apologise for the strike but we have been backed into a corner. It’s the first time we’ve felt that its enough of a big issue to strike.

“The amount of change since 2010 that has been ill thought out is unbelievable.

“It’s a legitimate strike and we are sorry for the disruption.”

“The strike is not just about pay, it’s about the damage being done to education.”

County Coun Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “Schools are run by headteachers and governors, therefore they must decide how to react to the planned strike, based on the particular circumstances at their individual schools.

“The county council will, of course, offer support and advice about matters such as risk assessments, but these are routine issues for schools and it will be for headteachers to make their own decisions based on staffing numbers.”

For details of school closures in the area, keep an eye on the Guardian website.