STRIKE IS ‘FOR THE CHILDREN’

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TEACHERS are calling for understanding as they go out on strike, as they are doing it “for the good of the children”.

Hundreds of parents face taking time off work or organising alternative childcare as school gates stay shut for the day of industrial action tomorrow.

All but one of South Holland’s secondary schools will be closed, with Spalding Grammar School only opening for years 11 and 12.

A handful of primary schools have already announced they are to close, but the list could still grow.

Teachers say they have not taken the decision to strike lightly, but feel compelled to do so as proposed changes to their pensions will hit them in the pocket and affect the future standards of education.

Many feel that forcing teachers to work until they are 68 would see an increase in stress-related illnesses and many could reach “burn out” before receiving their pensions.

They fear this would have and adverse impact on children’s education and believe many parents would be against their children being taught by a teacher in their late 60s.

Tydd St Mary Primary School headteacher Sonya Ripley says her school will stay open tomorrow but she and colleagues support the strike.

In a letter to parents she said: “Everyone feels very strongly that, by significantly raising the retirement age, children may not be guaranteed to get the quality of education they deserve.”

And headteacher of Donington Thomas Cowley School Martyn Taylor accused the government of “playing fast and loose” with teachers’ pensions and said: “The only thing we can do as a profession is to raise our voices and in extremis, which this is, to withdraw labour.

“The Government’s idea that teachers can continue to work until they are 68 is preposterous.

“Teaching is one of the hardest jobs of all and when you are with the students you have to be at your best. If you are teaching a 45-period fortnight, day in, day out, it is unbelievably stressful.

“Being forced to do that until you are 68 will lead to more teacher absences through illness, which will affect children’s education long-term.”

Teachers will be among thousands of public sector workers including NHS staff and council workers, expected to strike tomorrow.

Lincolnshire County Council has a list of the schools which have informed it of closures on its website, but parents are advised to check with their school for up to date information.

Spalding Sir John Gleed, Kirton Middlecott, University Academy Holbeach, Long Sutton Peele Community College, Bourne Academy and Donington Thomas Cowley are closed.

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