Hundreds miss school as teachers strike

ALL QUIET: Gosberton Primary School was closed by the NUT strike yesterday morning.
ALL QUIET: Gosberton Primary School was closed by the NUT strike yesterday morning.
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Hundreds of South Holland children missed school yesterday as teachers went on strike over pay and pensions.

Gosberton Primary was one of only two schools in Lincolnshire forced to close, but some were only partially open.

Thomas Cowley High School at Donington asked 221 of its students to stay away because of insufficient teacher cover, University Academy Holbeach opened only for Years 11, 12 and 13, and The Priory School, Spalding, gave 56 Key Stage 4 pupils the day off.

Among other schools hit were Westmere Primary, at Sutton Bridge, which closed to three of its classes, and Gedney Drove End Primary, which was only partially open.

Market Deeping Primary was initially listed as a school due to close, but it opened normally after informing parents of the mistake.

Thomas Cowley head Martyn Taylor said two of the school’s teachers were on strike, but there were also staff absences and non-striking members of staff who supported the striking teachers “by not wishing to cover for their absent colleagues”.

He said the teachers on strike would have taught a number of classes during the day, which is why so many pupils were affected.

“What I didn’t want to do was close the school for everybody, which I have had to do in the past,” Mr Taylor said.

The NUT, the biggest teaching union, is opposed to Government reforms including higher pension contributions and the introduction of performance related pay that will see salaries rise for teachers who boost pupils’ results and impose high levels of discipline.

The action wasn’t joined by the second biggest teaching union, the NASUWT, which supported the NUT in one-day strikes last term.

Grandad Les Brown, who was looking after his Gosberton Primary pupil granddaughter yesterday, said: “You can’t have a strike without inconveniencing somebody. I don’t object to it. I don’t think that striking is the right way forward for the teachers, but I certainly don’t think they are doing anything wrong.”