Page last updated at 08:54 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 09:54 UK

Strike hits 2,500 schools so far

Taking the register
It looks unlikely that half of schools will be disrupted by the strike

Parents are being warned about the impact of this week's teachers' strike - with over 2,500 schools so far set to be fully or partially closed.

Local authorities in England and Wales are gathering information - with 68 local authorities revealing their closure plans for the one-day strike.

These figures, mostly from outside London, suggest that several thousand schools will be disrupted on Thursday.

However, so far it seems unlikely that half of schools will be closed.

For example, in Birmingham, out of 441 schools, the local authority is expecting 56 schools to be closed or partially closed.

Empty classrooms

But disruption is not going to be limited to inner city areas. In Dorset, 29 out of 178 schools will face some degree of disruption - including full closure or the loss of lessons for individual year groups.

TEACHERS' STRIKE

And there will be 43 schools in Norfolk affected by the strike.

The one-day strike on April 24, being staged by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in protest against a pay offer, will be the first national teachers' strike for two decades.

The government has so far shown no signs of shifting ground - and both ministers and unions will be watching carefully to see the extent to which schools are disrupted.

There are some local authorities which have published lists of individual schools which will be partially or fully closed on Thursday - and others which have forecast numbers of schools that will be affected.

The total facing disruption in England and Wales so far is about 2,500 in 68 local authorities - representing more than a third of authorities.

If this pattern was followed across the country on Thursday, it would mean more than one in four schools would be likely to be disrupted.

However, inner London authorities, which have so far not revealed closure plans, are expected to have a higher proportion of schools affected by the strike.

But on such figures, it so far seems unlikely that half of schools will be disrupted - which would need teachers in about 12,000 schools to strike.

Pay offer

Within the schools that are facing disruption, many will remain open to some pupils as teachers in other unions are expected to work as usual.

For instance in Doncaster, 53 primary schools will open as normal, 27 will be partially closed and 22 will be fully closed.

Out of 126 schools in Bolton, 22 schools will be partially closed and 44 fully closed.

The NUT's acting general secretary, Christine Blower, has warned that "three years of below-inflation awards for teachers continues to have a damaging effect on teacher recruitment and retention".

The union is protesting against a pay deal worth 2.45% this year with a further rise of 2.3% in 2009 and 2010.

But the chairman of the National Employers' Organisation for School Teachers, Ivan Ould, criticised the timing of the strike: "Children so close to their exams will lose out on invaluable study time and parents will lose out as they are forced to take unnecessary holiday to look after them."

The government has also continued to oppose the strike.

"I'm on the side of parents who will be disappointed if their children's education is disrupted on Thursday, because we have decided to accept an independent pay review," said Schools Secretary Ed Balls.

"The majority of teachers do not want to strike," he said.




SEE ALSO
Schools disrupted by strike day
21 Apr 08 |  Education
Exam warning over school strike
20 Apr 08 |  Education
Q&A: NUT teachers' strike
21 Apr 08 |  Education

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