Town’s schools to shut

Education Secretary Michael Gove makes a statement to MPs in the House of Commons
Education Secretary Michael Gove makes a statement to MPs in the House of Commons
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Schools will be forced to close across Leyland when teachers stage a mass walk out over pay and pension contributions.

Up to 90 per cent of teachers in the town will go on strike this week as part of county-wide industrial action.

The members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) have teamed up to form the picket on Thursday.

The unions have been holding crisis talks with Minister for Education, Michael Gove over plans to increase teacher’s pension contributions and make changes to pay scales.

A spokesman from Worden Sports College has said: “We will be partially closing the school.

“The year sevens will be coming in but the rest of the years will be staying off.

“This will be for health and safety reasons so it won’t be possible for everyone to be in.”

Avis Gilmore, regional secretary for the NUT, said: “Teachers are very reluctant to go on strike, but this government is making so many attacks on their profession that they have no choice.

“We are calling on Michael Gove to sit down with us and talk, but he is not prepared to tackle the issues - it is in his hands now.”

Under the Tory plans, as well as working longer and paying more pension contributions, teachers’ pay will also be deregulated.

It means that salaries will be set at a headteachers’ discretion and a pay rise will no longer depend on how long they have been teaching.

County Coun Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “Schools are run by headteachers and governors, so they must decide how to react to the planned strike, based on the particular circumstances at their inschools.

“The county council will, of course, offer support and advice about matters such as risk assessments and teacher-pupil ratios, but these are routine issues for schools and it will be for headteachers to make their own decisions based on staffing numbers.”

n A full list of closures will be available at www.lancashire.gov.uk/education/school_closures/indaction.asp.