Portsmouth schools set to shut ahead of strike action

Teachers in Portsmouth City centre during the last teachers' strike in March this year
Teachers in Portsmouth City centre during the last teachers' strike in March this year
The Highbury College team at a celebration event at the Cunard offices in Southampton after finishing their project, with some deck chairs that they helped to restore and paint

Highbury College students are awarded for hard work on day centre for the disabled

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PARENTS are being warned about potential school closures as teachers prepare to walk out on strike in a dispute over pay.

Members of the NUT are involved in a national dispute, over pay, conditions and pensions and are set to take industrial action on Thursday.

Some schools across the area are expected to be affected, with some closed or partially closed.

Members of the unions GMB, Unison and Unite will also walk out in a dispute over the pay offer of a one per cent increase.

The three unions represent support staff in schools including teaching assistants, caretakers, nursery nurses and dinner ladies.

Teachings unions are taking strike action because they say education secretary Michael Gove is not willing to join in discussions with them.

Amanda Martin, secretary of the Portsmouth NUT, said: ‘Michael Gove is still not discussing what the action is about. With the new pay conditions and performance-related pay, we have asked him to write a letter to every chairman of governors to budget for pay rises.

‘There is a new curriculum in September which was only released in April.

‘We asked for one more inset day to let the teachers get that all together and he said no. They are all simple things that wouldn’t have cost him anything.’

Councillor Roy Perry is the leader of Hampshire County Council. He said: ‘Our priority is to the children in our care, and rest assured we will do everything possible to ensure they will be well looked-after throughout.’

Councillor Neill Young, cabinet member for children and education at Portsmouth City Council, said he was disappointed.

He said: ‘I’m disappointed they feel they need to strike because it’s going to have a real impact on the children.

‘We don’t want to see any child’s education disrupted, however we are where we are.’

Schools strike latest

A DECISION on whether to close or partially close a school will be made by the headteacher and its governing body.

The decision is based on the number of staff expected to strike and could mean a school remains open, partially open or close.

So far, St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, in Waterlooville, will close.

The following schools in Portsmouth will be partially closed:

n St Paul’s Catholic Primary School;

n St Edmund’s Catholic School;

n Redwood Park School;

n Penhale Infant School;

n Devonshire Infant School;

n Copnor Infant School