Teachers set to strike

The NUT's Mark Sandell, left, and Jack Tyler, right, during October's industrial action
The NUT's Mark Sandell, left, and Jack Tyler, right, during October's industrial action

TEACHERS across the area are expected to walk-out next month in the latest industrial action over pensions, pay and the direction of education.

Members of the National Union of Teachers have voted for the strike, on March 26, as negotiations with the Government continued to stagnate.

It follows a day-long walk-out in October over similar grievances.

West Sussex NUT secretary and Durrington High School teacher Mark Sandell, said: “Teaching professionals have become very demoralised at the way the Government is not listening to what we have to say.

“The NUT has tried to have negotiations and the Government has refused to do so.

“All they are prepared to do is to meet the union and outline what they are planning, not to discuss and negotiate.”

Disputes include the introduction of performance-related pay, changes to the pension scheme and deeper concerns over direction of the education system.

Mr Sandell said: “An example is that academies and free schools allow unqualified teachers to work and we know that is having an effect in the West Sussex area.”

Mr Sandell claims morale is so low nationally that two in five newly-qualified teachers are leaving the profession within five years.

The union hopes the strike will pressure the Government into negotiations and hopes the strength of support will this time be backed-up by parents.

Mr Sandell said: “We expect it to have a big impact on schools across the area and we anticipate there will be some kind of rally, 
which will be announced 
at a later date.”

West Sussex County Council spokeswoman Philippa Eld said decisions on whether schools would close would be made by individual head teachers.

She said: “West Sussex County Council naturally wished strike action could be avoided, as we recognise that parents will be inconvenienced.

“Details of any school closures or partial closures will be posted on the county council website nearer the time.”

NASUWT members are yet to announce whether they will join the strike.