Teachers’ strike closes two King’s Lynn schools and leaves thousands of pupils facing a day at home

Education news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
Education news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
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Thousands of parents have been told to keep their children away from school tomorrow because of a planned strike by teachers.

Two Lynn primary schools, Fairstead and Reffley, will be completely closed on Wednesday because of the action, though most are expected to be open as normal.

And around half of West Norfolk’s secondary schools will be partially shut, with students in some year groups being told not to attend.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are staging a 24-hour walkout as part of their long-running dispute with the government over pay, pensions and working conditions.

The head of Reffley Primary, Pam Foskett, said yesterday that a “large majority” of her staff were members of the NUT and parents were notified of the decision on Friday.

She said she was not aware of any criticism of the decision from parents, adding: “I think parents are aware it is a national strike. We have given them as much notice as we can.”

Fairstead head Hazel Spinks said; “On the grounds of health and safety it was necessary for me to close the school.”

The list of secondary schools to face disruption includes the Fakenham Academy, which will be shut to years eight, nine and ten, but open to all other students.

Principal Matthew Parr- Burman said around a third of his staff are NUT members and there would not be enough teachers present to supervise all year groups.

On the decision to open to year seven pupils, he said: “They are the most vulnerable and parents probably can’t leave them at home on their own.”

Meanwhile, the Downham Academy this morning, Tuesday, March 25, confirmed it would shut for students in years seven, eight and nine, but remain open to all other year groups.

The King’s Lynn Academy will also be closed to students in years eight and nine, while St Clement’s High School is set to shut to youngsters in years nine and ten.

In a letter to parents, which was released on Friday, St Clement’s headteacher Andy Johnson said he wanted to keep the school open to as many pupils as possible.

But he added: “As more than a quarter of our teachers are likely to be absent, we cannot safely accommodate all our students.”

King’s Lynn Academy principal Craig Morrison said his school’s decision was based on the need to minimise the disruption felt by students preparing for GCSE exams and the wish to reduce childcare problems for parents.

However, Springwood High and the King Edward VII School in Lynn, as well as Hunstanton’s Smithdon High School, the Iceni Academy in Methwold and Swaffham’s Sacred Heart School all expect to be open as normal.

Springwood associate head Mark Ballman said his school would remain open as the number of NUT members working there was “relatively small.”

He said a safe staffing level to enable all children to be on site could be maintained.

Elsewhere, the Nicholas Hamond Academy in Swaffham will be shut to students in years seven and eight, while pupils in years seven, eight and nine have been told not to attend the Litcham School.

And the Marshland High School in West Walton will be open to all year groups, except year ten.