No progress means it’s the children who will suffer

Ewan McGregor  as Renton in Trainspotting - the gender neutral toilets Zella has visited are almost as grubby

ZELLA COMPTON: Men – just aim it in the right direction and we’ll all be happy!

Have your say

There appears to be no let-up in the long-running battle between teachers and Michael Gove.

Many in the teaching profession insist the education secretary is ruining the school system with his sweeping reforms, as the row over their pay and pension conditions rumbles on.

The divide will come to the fore once again on Wednesday when members of The National Union of Teachers strike, forcing many schools in our area to close for the day.

Whichever side of the fence you choose to align yourself with, there can be little doubt that all the while this goes on, it’s the children who are the ones to suffer.

It’s just one day off for pupils, some could argue.

But at a time when schools are quick to clampdown on anyone taking unauthorised absences, it makes it hard to brush off a day of strike action as having little consequence to their learning.

Of course, the teachers who will take industrial action on Wednesday will not revel in the closure of schools.

All they want is for Mr Gove to sit down with union leaders at a time when they are adamant their grievances are not being heard.

What is a cause for concern, though, is that, more than five months after previous industrial action by teachers, for many, there appears no sign of any progress towards a compromise.

While there are two sides to every argument, the worry here is the gulf between teachers and the government.

The unions say the profession is at breaking point: the government, in its pronouncements on the subject, has just emphasised the disruption caused.

What we need is proper, transparent discussion, so each side can answer the other’s concerns and end worries over just how much more strike action will take place in the coming months. Another teachers’ union, NASWUT, will not be striking on Wednesday because, according to its Portsmouth secretary Sion Reynolds, ‘Gove is willing to address our concerns’.

The hope is that this sentiment is soon echoed by all teachers so this sorry situation can find some way of being rectified.