Thousands of parents facing disruption as teachers go on strike

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By Leek Post and Times | Monday, July 04, 2011, 08:00

THOUSANDS of parents face disruption tomorrow as teachers go on strike – even if national action is called off at the last minute.

Teachers across the Staffordshire Moorlands are set to strike tomorrow in a dispute over the government's public sector pension reforms.

The action is being organised by teaching unions, although some members of other unions will be at work.

Of the 17 schools the Post & Times contacted on Monday afternoon, four are set to be closed completely, six will have only some classes open, and seven are set to remain open.

Single mum Sam Brough of Morley Street in Leek has a seven-year-old daughter who attends Westwood First School, which is set to be partly open tomorrow.

Miss Brough, a 39-year-old care worker, said: "Zoe's class is one that will not be available, so I have had to sort out child care with extended family.

"Luckily it's only going to be for a couple of hours and it won't cost me anything.

"But I do really feel for those who do a full day's work or have no family back-up. What if the strike is called off at the last minute? Families who have organised paid-for childcare or taken the day off – will they still have to pay?"

Miss Brough did add: "I agree that teachers and other public sector workers should fight for what they believe."

Mum-of-three Sarah Drury, aged 35, of Selborne Road in Leek, who works at Britannia, said: "I have an eight-year-old daughter at Woodcroft and an 11-year-old daughter at St Edward's Junior High School who will both need to have the day off.

"Luckily for me my eldest son is not working that day, so he will be able to look after the girls, which saves me having to lose a day's pay."

Some schools, which will be partly closing, have confirmed that if the strike is called off at the last minute they will notify parents by text.

However, even if pupils are able to attend classes, parents may still have to pay. Jessica Spencer, who lives in the West End of Leek, has two kids aged six and eight who will both need the day off.

The 35-year-old said: "I know of some childcare facilities where, once booked, even if your child is ill and can't go, you still have to pay."

In a letter sent home to parents of students at Westwood College last Thursday, executive headteacher Keith Hollins said: "In making a decision about the College's response to this situation I have to balance a desire to maintain the continuity of education, for our students, against their Health and Safety with reduced levels of adult supervision.

"I know that we are going to be in a position where I cannot adequately supervise students on the site and so the purpose of this letter is to inform you that Westwood College will be closed to students on Thursday."

Parents are advised to call their individual schools for advice.

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