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Teachers' strike affects Basingstoke schools
SEVERAL schools in the Basingstoke area are closed, or partially shut, today as teachers take strike action.
Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and NASUWT are protesting against the Government’s education reforms, pay, conditions and pensions.
Bishop Challoner Catholic Secondary School, in St Michael’s Road, South Ham, is among those shut.
Headteacher Anthony Corish wrote to parents to say: “A significant number of staff are involved and I am unable to open the school as normal.”
Mr Corish added: “I have not taken the decision to close the school lightly, but on this occasion have no choice. I hope for a speedy resolution of this dispute.”
Charlie Currie, headteacher at Brighton Hill Community School, wrote to parents on October 8 to inform them that the school will be closed for Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils.
He added that he will close the entire school “if I consider that it is not safe to remain open.”
Mr Currie hopes to keep the school open for Year 10 and 11, but said: “In the event the industrial action is a great deal more disruptive than I am currently anticipating, we may need to make a very late change to these arrangements.”
Various primary schools also announced they would close, including Hatch Warren Junior School, in Brighton Hill, and Oakley Junior School.
But many schools were unable to predict the level of impact, because staff do not have to advise their headteachers of their intention to strike beforehand.
Andrew Perry, a father-of-three, from Winklebury, Basingstoke, said his wife, Kirsty, had to take a day off work as a carer to look after their children.
The security worker, whose children attend Winklebury Junior School and Fort Hill Community School, said: “Why can’t the staff go into school and sit there and let the children play board games? They could stop teaching the children the curriculum.
"There will be some parents who will be told that they will be out of work if they don’t go in on Thursday.”
The county council has written to all headteachers, providing information for staff on the implications of participating in industrial action.
Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for education, said: “We do not believe strike action helps children’s education and I hope the decision of unions to ask their members to take part in an industrial day of action does not lead to widespread disruption.”
He added: “Any decisions to close schools will be for individual headteachers and their governing bodies. They will have to decide whether they have sufficient staff to enable them to open the school safely and maintain a full or revised curriculum and it may not be possible for schools to gauge the impact of the strike until the actual day.
“Staff who do strike will not be paid for that day, in accordance with nationally set legislation. As always, the county council’s primary concern is for the education and welfare of children.”
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