Stevenage and Biggleswade schools partially closed today as NUT members strike over pay, working conditions and education funding

Teachers in Stevenage and Biggleswade have gone on strike today as part of an NUT protest over pay a

Teachers in Stevenage and Biggleswade have gone on strike today as part of an NUT protest over pay and working conditions. - Credit: Archant

Stevenage and Biggleswade schools are among those who have partially closed today due to a National Union of Teachers strike over pay, working conditions and lack of funding in the education sector.

Four Stevenage primary schools – Broom Barns, Camps Hill, Lodge Farm and Trotts Hill – have told Herts County Council they will be partially closed as a result, while Biggleswade Academy is among those affected in Bedfordshire.

The NUT confirmed last week that a strike would be taking place after 91.7 per cent voted in favour of the walkout, as a national dispute with the Government continues.

Kevin Courtney, acting general secretary of the NUT, said: “The NUT is not taking action lightly. In light of the huge funding cuts to schools, worsening terms and conditions, and unmanageable and exhausting workloads, teachers cannot be expected to go on without significant change.

“The effects on children’s education are also real and damaging. As a result of school funding cuts, class sizes in primary and secondary schools are increasing, subject choices are being cut, and children are getting less individual attention as teachers and support staff are made redundant or not replaced when they leave. There is worse to come, with the Institute of Fiscal Studies predicting that the biggest real terms cuts to per pupil funding in a generation are on the way.

“There is already a teacher recruitment and retention crisis in our schools. Without significant change to the pay and working condition of teachers, this will simply deepen. We know that many parents share our concerns.”

Councillor David Williams, cabinet member for enterprise, education and skills at Herts County Council, said: “We hope that there is a speedy resolution to this dispute in the interests of all concerned. In the meantime, we are working closely with schools and headteachers to manage the impact of the strike in Hertfordshire.

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“The decision to stay open or to close is for individual school headteachers and governors to make. We have urged as many schools as possible to remain open as long as it is safe to do so, but we do not have any authority to compel them to stay open, whether they are community schools, free schools or academies.”

A spokesman said the best way for parents to find out about closures is by contacting their children’s schools directly – although the four Stevenage schools listed above had all informed the authority of partial closures.

Broom Barns’ reception class is closed today, and there is no teaching for Year 1 (Voles) and Year 6 (Kestrels) at Camps Hill. Lodge Farm say ‘some classes’ will not be open, while there will be no teaching for Year 1, Year 2 and Year 5 pupils at Trotts Hill,

All years from reception to Year 8 are not being taught at Biggleswade Academy today, but the pre-school and Blossom classes remain open.

In Herts, you can check which schools have notified the county council of closures here.

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