Lessons will be cancelled in schools across West Norfolk today as teachers strike over changes to their pay and pensions.
Headteachers of 14 primary and secondary schools have decided to partially or fully close due to staff shortages caused by the industrial action.
Members of the National Union for Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) have staged a walkout in the eastern region in a row over pay, pensions, working conditions and jobs.
But the strike has received some backlash from parents.
Tony and Louise Ramasso have had to rely on a relative to take a day off and care for son Charlie, eight, who attends Reffley Community School.
But the Lynn couple are most worried about 16-year-old daughter Shannon’s GCSE course work as Springwood High School are running revision lessons.
Mrs Ramasso said: “My main concern is my daughter. This is a very important time for her.
“You could argue that one day is not going to make much impact but if you take a child out of school for one day, you are fined £60 as it is going to have a detrimental effect on his or her education.”
Fakenham High School is totally closed as the majority of teachers are union members.
Headteacher Matthew Parr-Burnham said: “I am not happy about having to close but it was a straightforward decision on health and safety grounds. I couldn’t have 1,000 children with one teacher.”
King Edward VII School in Lynn is only open to Years 7, 11, 12 and 13.
Headteacher Mike Douglass said: “We have to balance safety with the number of staff we have to cover on the site.”
Lynn Academy will be closed to all pupils except those in Years 7 and 11 while Downham Academy is only open to Year 11 and the sixth form.
St Clement’s High School is running lessons for Year 7 and two hours of GCSE work for Year 11.
Headteacher John Robson said: “This is a national issue which is spilling into schools.”
Smithdon High School in Hunstanton is running lessons for pupils in Years 7, 12 and 13.
Headteacher Jon Goodchild said: “I am disappointed to have to close the school but understand the strength of feeling along the large number of teachers. I am very concerned about the national shortage of teachers.”
The secondary section of Iceni Academy in Methwold is closed to Years 7 to 10. The Nicholas Academy, Swaffham, is only be providing lessons for children in Years 7, 11 and 12. Marshland High School is only open to Year 7.
Hilgay Primary School’s reception and Year 1 class is closed while West Winch Primary School and Reffley Community School are shut.Swaffham Infant School and Reffley will also be closed.
NUT general secretary Christine Blowers said: “Strike action is never a step that teachers take lightly and we are very aware and concerned about the inconvenience it causes parents.
“Unfortunately we are faced with a Government that is refusing to listen to the reasonable requests of the profession.”
Parents have commented on the strike on the Lynn News Facebook page. Here are some of their comments.
Mark Self: “Good on them, they have to stand up for themselves. Just like we postmen are going to have to, The trouble with this bunch in charge is they just want to take all the time and never give anything back! So we should support anyone who has to strike under this government.”
Taz Gathercole: “ I have two at Lynn Academy. Tuesday is a GCSE lesson day for year 10 and they are not there, wasting valuable time. I think its disgraceful and selfish of the schools. Both my children think the strikes are stupid and a waste of time.”
Katherine Shuttleworth: “What are they going to gain out of this strike? Parents lose wages, kids lose education, plans messed up. They’re not setting a good example for our children!”
Tanya Clumsyette Lee: “I don’t get why only half the schools are on strike? What’s the point? Not like the teachers work full hours as it is! They get paid twice as much as us harder working folk! Maybe the rest of us should just go on strike!”
Caley Griffin: “It’s sad to see so much hostility against our teachers. I know I’m grateful to all the teachers and helpers for providing my son with an education.” Stella M Gooch: “I think teachers chose their jobs and have to take the rough with the smooth. I am amused that there is a letter doing the rounds on Facebook to one of the schools suggesting that the teachers should pay us parents £60 for being absent!”
Kevin Wingfield: “ Teachers are in an hour before school starts then they don’t get home till between 5-6 then they then spend many hours in the evening and weekends marking and planning lessons. If they did not do this then there would not be any education for your children. If they worked out the salary they get against the amount of hours they work it is less then the minimum wage. The only guilty party is the Government.”