Teachers strike - schools to close

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THOUSANDS of Wigan pupils will have their education disrupted as teachers push ahead with a mass walk-out.

Two leading unions have told the borough’s schools their plans for members to stage a one-day strike on June 27.

And the action could pose more potential problems for Wigan students with several Leavers’ Balls scheduled on that day.

Cansfield High School, Rose Bridge High School and Standish Community High School are among those staging their prom or awards’ nights on the day of the strike.

Kirston Nelson, head of education at Wigan Council, stopped short of confirming mass school closures but said the local authority would be working to minimise the impact of the strike.

She said: “We are talking to the unions and our staff to get an indication of the likely impact of the strike action.

“We will work with schools to keep disruption to a minimum and ensure parents are kept informed.”

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and (NASUWT) - who account for nine out of 10 teachers - said they plan further strikes in the autumn.

Government refusals to negotiate with teachers and unpopular education reforms are being blamed for the industrial action.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates, said: “The move to strike action is a manifestation of the anger and frustration of teachers at the failure of the Government to seek to address the deep concerns of the profession.”

NUT’s general secretary Christine Blower, added: “The Government is going down entirely the wrong path for education and teachers. They need to start listening.”

The strikes planned for all over the North West later this month are the first in a series of regional walk-outs the unions have planned. At least one national walk-out has been scheduled for November.

Around 2,765 schools will be affected across 22 local council areas including Lancashire, St Helens and Warrington.

A spokesman for the Department of Education (DoE), said: “We are disappointed that the NUT and NASUWT have decided to take strike action, which less than quarter of teachers actually voted for.

“Industrial action will disrupt pupils’ education, hugely inconvenience parents and damage the profession’s reputation in the eyes of the public at a time when our reforms are driving up standards across the country.”

Last month, Wigan’s NUT representative Max Atkins sent a dummy to education secretary Michael Gove accusing him of a “disgraceful display of arrogance” following his ongoing rows with teachers.

Mr Atkins told the Evening Post: “Mr Gove, who has never been a teacher, is lauding it over terrified and job-threatened staff at the DoE, making up policies that make no sense.”