Many areas face shutdown of all schools

 

A complete shutdown of every state primary and secondary school in several areas of the UK is expected on Wednesday.

Two authorities – Blaenau Gwent and Newport in Wales have indicated every school will close. A third local authority, Sunderland, says every school will be disrupted with 89 closing and four facing partial closure.

A survey of local authorities by The Independent revealed support for the strike appeared harder in the country's industrial heartlands.

Only two schools in North Tyneside have been confirmed as open and just five in South Tyneside. In Durham, 168 out of 277 primary schools will definitely close. By contrast, only 44 of the 313 primary schools in Devon have said they will be closed.

Overall, from the 44 authorities who responded to our survey, a total of 2,421 schools declared they would either be fully or partially closed. If this picture was mirrored across the country, it would mean around 10,000 schools – mainly primaries – would close.

But the final figure is likely to be much higher. Some union leaders estimate that around 20,000 of the 26,000 schools in England and Wales will close.

A total of four teachers' unions and one headteachers' organisation are striking. The only union not to strike is Voice, whose members vow never to take strike action. It says it is receiving 100 applications for membership a day.

Many of those striking on Wednesday will be walking out of the classroom for the first time. John Paul, a primary school teacher for 33 years, said: "I'm hurt and offended by the injustice of what is being proposed. I didn't come into teaching to make a fortune – that's not what happens. I knew there would be no bonuses, no overtime but I did expect a decent pension."

Government concessions to those in their last 10 years of teaching would protect his pension, he admitted. But he said he had already lost hundreds of pounds as a result of basing the final figure on CPI rather than the RPI.

Support for the strike comes today from Education International, which represents 10 million teachers world-wide. It is publishing research showing £25bn was lost to tax avoidance in the UK last year –£18.5bn of which was lost to tax havens through avoidance by individuals and corporations. "It is quite clear from our report that billions of pounds are being held back from funding essential public services by corporate tax dodging," said general secretary Fred Van Leeuwn.

"It is absolutely wrong for the UK government to accuse teachers and other public service unions of being irresponsible and ignoring the financial crisis," he said.

Some parents groups condemned the move to take strike action. Margaret Morrissey, of Parents Outloud, said: "Teachers who strike – we expected better from you. You who lead our children you make no one feel proud and many feel ashamed. To the thousands of teachers who are working and not striking, thank you so much."

Is it right to strike? Teachers have their say

Yes: Julia Neal, a teacher at Torquay Girls' Grammar School, whose school will shut for the day

"I've been in teaching since 1978 and I've never taken industrial action, yet I'll have done it twice in six months [the Association of Teachers and Lecturers staged a one-day strike over the same issue in June].

I feel so strongly that teachers' pensions are being used to pay for other mistakes because the Government thinks it's an easy way out.

One of the things I really resent is for teachers to have to work until they're 68. We're already facing a two-year pay freeze and higher bills.

It's ludicrous for the Government to say we're acting prematurely. Our union has been trying to negotiate for months. We have to do this to safeguard the future of the profession."

No: Simon Smith, 51, is a teacher at Sweyne Park School in Rayleigh, Essex

The school will be open and those staff who aren't on strike will be expected to be in. It is a decision that I made many, many years ago that I could never reconcile in my own mind that striking was a successful way forward. That level of confrontation just isn't the way to achieve anything. Negotiations are the way forward.

Wednesday will be a normal day for me. I have two classes that won't be there but I shall utilise the time to catch up on marking and preparation. At our school people are committed to the school and the head is very fair. It's like we're punishing the school when we're taking action when the employer is Essex County Council.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Administration Assistant / Apprenticeship Industry

£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity for an e...

Recruitment Genius: NVQ Assessor

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Private Training Provider off...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...