TEACHERS’ STRIKE: At least four Fenland schools expected to close on Thursday

AT least four Fenland schools are expected to close on Thursday as teachers prepare to strike in a nationwide day of action.

A number of unions - including the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and National Union of Teachers (NUT) - are co-ordinating the walk-out over the Government’s proposed changes to teachers pensions.

Benwick Primary School, Nene Infant and Nursery School in Wisbech and Cromwell Community College in Chatteris are thought to be closing on the day.

Neale-Wade Community College in March have already sent letters to parents confirming the school will definitely be closed on Thursday.

Three other schools - Outwell Primary School, Guyhirn Primary School, Elm Primary School, Murrow Primary School, Wisbech St Mary Primary School, St Peter’s Junior School in Wisbech and Westwood Junior School in March - are believed to be partially closing as a result of the strike action.

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A spokesman for the ATL and NUT said: “Strike action is not a move that any teacher, lecturer or head teacher takes lightly.

“Educating our pupils is the most important aspect of our working life. We take action to protect the quality of education in Cambridgeshire, because if the Government’s proposals go through teachers will drop out of the pension scheme, potentially making it unviable.

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“Teaching will become a less attractive profession and it will ultimately be pupils who suffer. We realise that as teachers and lecturers we are not the only people who are facing huge threats to our pensions and jobs.

“We are also aware that many workers in the private sector do not have adequate pension provision and this is an issue the Government needs to address. But the teachers’ scheme has been well managed over the years, and recently changes were made to take into account the ageing population and to enable costs to reduce over the next 50 years.

“These reforms are working well. We need decent pensions for all. Cutting public sector pensions will just make more pensioners poorer and put the cost of supporting them onto the State and taxpayers.

“We are frustrated that after months of talks with Ministers, the Government looks determined to go ahead with its proposals to make us pay more, work longer and get less for our pensions.

“While we sincerely regret having to take this action, and any inconvenience caused to parents, pupils and employers, we hope you understand why as a last resort we are taking action on Thursday.”

Official figures released by education chiefs at Cambridgeshire County Council last night showed 71 of the county’s 250 schools had reported their intentions on the day of action.

Twenty-nine have declared they will shut, 18 are planning to partially close while 26 hope to remain open as normal.

Burrowmoor Primary School in March, Clarkson Infant School and Peckover Primary School in Wisbech and Manea Primary School have declared they will remain open.

However, schools are under no obligation to tell the county council of their proposals and many more may close on the day.

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