Ahead of a possible day of industrial action on 26th March, Hampshire County Council has been providing advice to the county’s schools on the implications of the potential action.
The NUT teacher union is in an on-going dispute with the Government in respect of reforms to the education sector, as well as teachers’ pay, conditions and pensions.
The County Council has written to all head teachers at its schools, providing information for staff on the implications of participating in industrial action or otherwise being absent, or partially performing work duties on the day of industrial action.
It is difficult to predict the level of impact of the industrial action in Hampshire as staff do not have to advise their head teacher of their intention to participate. If Hampshire members of these unions do decide to take action however, there is likely to be some disruption.
Head teachers are being asked to ascertain ahead of the day of action, whether any staff will be striking and the likely impact on the school, including whether this means that they will need to close or partially close their schools. This is to enable parents and carers to be advised, if possible, so that they can make alternative arrangements where required.
Schools and education centres have been advised to use the County Council’s usual procedures to notify parents and the County Council of any closures or other arrangements such as partial closures, by updating full details on the County Council website. Where known, schools will be able to notify of closures on the website up to five days in advance of the action.
Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, said: “I hope the decision of the union to ask their members to take part in a day of industrial action next week does not lead to widespread disruption to pupils’ education. This dispute is not with the County Council but with the Government over changes to teachers’ pay, pensions and conditions.”
“Any decisions to close schools will be for individual head teachers and their governing bodies to make. They will have to decide whether they have sufficient staff to enable them to open the school safely, and maintain a full or revised curriculum, and it may not be possible for schools to gauge the impact of the strike until the actual day. Staff who do strike however, will not be paid for that day in accordance with nationally set legislation. As always, the County Council’s primary concern is for the education and welfare of children.“