Teachers' strike closes schools in Stroud today

8:00am Wednesday 26th March 2014

By Kate Wilson

SCHOOLS across the Stroud district have been affected today, Wednesday, by the teachers' strike over pay, pensions and workload.

Dozens of teachers have walked out as an argument over Government plans for performance-related pay, extending the working age to 68 and a pensions struggle have spilt over into strike action.

National Union of Teachers' (NUT) National Executive member for Gloucestershire, John Pemberthy, explained that the union has held off industrial action for some time, hoping that Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove would engage in talks about the current problems in the teaching profession which see 40 percent of new teachers leaving the profession within five years of qualifying.

“We would be letting teachers down to call off the action before any progress has been made and that not making this stand today would be a serious mistake if we want to get Michael Gove to listen to what education professionals are saying,” said Mr Pemberthy.

“We are concerned about disruption to schools but feel that things will be much worse for pupils if these issues are not addressed.”

Stroud MP Neil Carmichael, who also sits on the education committee, said strike action should be discouraged, especially in the run up to exams when continuity for pupils is of vital importance.

“I understand that teachers might find it difficult to accept the reforms the Government is making to the education system but overall, I think the direction we are going in is the right one,” he said.

Mr Carmichael also said he thought performance related pay was a very good idea as it allowed the best teachers to be rewarded.

He added also commented that although in some cases, outside factors affect exam results "the most important factor is the way pupils progress".

Former Stroud MP and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the 2015 general election, David Drew, said he understood why teachers felt the need to react with strike action.

“Michael Gove seems to want to see the end of state education,” he said.

As the Stroud News & Journal went to press yesterday (Tuesday), a number of schools had announced closures.

Click on the links to see find out which schools are affected by the strike.

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