More than 300 schools in the North East will be shut to pupils today as teachers go on strike in protest at pay, pensions and curriculum changes.
Thousands of parents across the North East have been forced to take time off from work or make additional childcare arrangements as teachers in the region follow strike action taken elsewhere in the country earlier this month.
Teachers from the two main education unions will march through Durham, with members of NUT and MASUWT from across Northumberland, Newcastle, Tyneside and County Durham due to take part. The march sets off from Millennium Square at 10am heading through the city centre before ending with a rally at Durham University’s students union. Speaking at the rally will be Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT.
She said: “No teacher has any wish to inconvenience parents or disrupt pupils’ education but this action is not the failure or due to the unreasonableness of teachers.
“It is the failure and unreasonableness of the Secretary of State who day-in-day-out is disrupting the education of children and young people through his attacks on the teaching profession.”
The decision to close the school gates fell to individual schools.
While more than 300 schools in the region decided to close to students others were able to open or partially open.
In some areas it was lessons as normal for children in Year 6 only with others catering for lower year groups.
The strike has been backed by Blaydon MP Dave Anderson. He said: “I am calling on Michael Gove to meet with the unions and look seriously at their concerns and proposals.
“It is his intransigence that has led to Thursday’s action and it is time he ended his one-man battle against teachers and start putting the education of our children first. He couldn’t have been more wrong when he called teachers ‘the enemies of promise’.
“If we want the best possible teachers in the classroom we must start valuing the work they do.
“This dispute is not about personal gain for teachers. It is essentially about protecting the future education of our children.
“Education cuts don’t heal easily and we have now reached a critical point.”
:: To find out more about North East and Newcastle school strike closures CLICK HERE