Schools close for the day as teachers strike

Hundreds of schools across Derbyshire closed for the day this week as teachers went on strike.

Staff at 106 schools walked out on Tuesday – leaving scores of parents with a childcare crisis.

The action – which affected schools in the Dales – was called by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT, two of England’s biggest teaching unions.

Teachers are angry about changes to their pensions, increased workloads and Government plans to bring in performance-related pay.

They accused Education Secretary Michael Gove of being “reckless and irresponsible” and not listening to their concerns.

However, the Government criticised the walkout – saying it was damaging to pupils’ education.

Deborah Turner, Derbyshire division secretary of the NUT, said: “We know that the strike, which was a direct result of Mr Gove’s refusal to commit to meaningful negotiation, was supported by the majority of parents and governors and by the wider community.

“We thank everyone for this support.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, called the action a “last resort”.

She added: “Teachers deeply regret any disruption to children and families.

“This walkout would have been unnecessary had Mr Gove been prepared to engage in genuine discussions.”

A spokesman for the Department of Education said the strike was “disappointing”.

They added: “Industrial action disrupts pupils’ education, hugely inconveniences parents and damages the profession’s reputation in the eyes of the public at a time when our reforms are driving up standards across the country.”

On Facebook, reader Samantha Joanne Clarke said: “Teachers have the right to strike when their pay and pensions are being threatened just like any of you have the right to if the same happened to you.”

Plans for a national one-day walkout before Christmas have been announced by the two unions.