Schools to close as teachers take action

Schools in the Wetherby area are to close next Tuesday as teachers take strike action in a dispute over pay, pensions and workload.

Tadcaster Grammar and Sherburn High are to close for the day but Wetherby High has announced a partial closure and, as the News went to press, Boston School had yet to decide.

In a letter to parents Wetherby High headteacher Angela Barnes said: “We have been encouraged to keep our school open to try to maintain the continuity of educational provision.

“We have had to take account of health and safety requirements.

“A risk assessment has been undertaken and based on that assessment a decision has been made to close the school to Years 7 to 10.

“Years 11, 12 and 13 are expected to attend school as normal for supervised study and supervision.”

The vast majority of schools across the Yorkshire region will be affected as members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT take part in the industrial action across.

And Yorkshire schools could be hit again if the two unions go ahead with a planned national day of strike action before Christmas.

The unions object to plans to abandon national pay and conditions for teachers and pension reforms which will mean they will work longer, pay more and receive less.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “Teachers begin the academic year with an enormous level of enthusiasm to do the best they possibly can for every child.

“This year that enthusiasm is tempered and dampened by the anger and frustration teachers feel.”

Tadcaster Grammar headteacher Geoff Mitchell said in a statement issued to parents last Thursday: “Following a thorough risk assessment to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of students whilst on the school site, I regret to inform you that I will not be able to open the school to students on Tuesday 1 October 2013.

“I apologise for the potential inconvenience this closure will cause and hope this early confirmation gives sufficient time for arrangements to be put in place at home.”

Sherburn High also stated a risk posed by inadequate supervisioni and reduced capacity to deliver a coherent timetable.