Parents face disruptions as teacher strikes hit Cornwall
Thousands of children in Cornwall have been forced to stay at home today as over 100 schools are either fully or partially closed due to teacher strikes.
Cornwall Council has confirmed that 107 out of 272 schools across the county have been disrupted due to teachers taking strike action.
Some of the 107 schools have shut completely, while others are running a skeleton staff or just keeping key exam preparation lessons running for certain year groups.
Teachers who are members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) unions have gone on strike to protest about government plans to introduce performance related play, increase their workloads and make changes to their pensions from this Autumn.
Andy Woolley, the NUT’s South West regional secretary said: "The South West trains a larger proportion of the nation's teachers than it employs and we worry about their increasing disillusionment with their situation.
“Michael Gove says that this is the best generation of teachers ever and yet he is downgrading their pay, increasing their pension contributions without any evidence this is needed, worsening conditions of service and increasing the already excessively long hour’s teachers work during both term time and the holidays their pupils get.
"Although we regret any disruption to parents and pupils we believe that the effects of current policies being ideologically driven by Michael Gove are doing considerable harm to the profession, to schools ability to recruit and retain teachers and to the education service in general."
Mr Woolley went on to suggest that the education secretary should do as his counterparts in Wales have done and enter into meaningful dialogue with the NUT and NASUWT.
Yet parents in Cornwall have expressed mixed feelings about the strikes.
Lynn Tabatha Rhodes posted on the West Briton Facebook page: "How come if you take your kids out of school in term time, because of unfair hiked holiday prices, you get a fine? Yet teachers can stop kids going to school because they have 'unfair' work conditions? They should all be fined!"
While Sharon Vercoe posted on Facebook posted: “My children's school is closed to all except the 6th form - but no school buses are running, so had to take my daughter in by car, wonder if I can get a refund for today's bus fare that was paid up front?! (No free travel for my children because we live 2.9 miles away from school!”
The regional strike in South West is part of a wider programme of protest which also includes teachers in the South East, London and parts of the North of England.