County set for strikes by teachers and firefighters

A NUMBER of schools in Northumberland will be closed today as a result of strike action.

Hundreds of teachers are taking industrial action in the North East and other regions in opposition to planned Government reforms on pay, pensions and workload.

Teaching unions NUT and NASUWT claim that ministers have failed to enter into meaningful talks to resolve the dispute.

They are concerned about the impact these changes would have on the morale of the teaching profession, the recruitment and retention of teachers and the provision of quality education for pupils.

The schools that are closed include Broomhill First School, Ellington First School, Linton First School, Stamfordham First School, Chantry Middle School and Technology College, Newminster Middle School and Technology College, Ponteland Middle School, Richard Coates Middle School, James Calvert Spence College (Acklington Road) and King Edward VI School.

Some schools are staying open. They include the following: Abbeyfields First School, Acklington First School, Belsay First School, Cambo First School, Collingwood School and Media Arts College, Darras Hall First School, Grange View First School, Heddon on the Wall First School, Longhorsley St Helen’s First School, Morpeth All Saints First School, Morpeth First School, Stobhillgate First School, Pegswood First School, Red Row First School, St Robert’s First School, Stannington First School, Tritlington First School and Whalton First School.

Ponteland First School is partially open and Ponteland High School is open to sixth formers only.

The Department of Education has called the strike ‘disappointing’, saying it will cause many parents to take the day off work in order to look after their children.

Meanwhile, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents and businesses to take extra steps to protect themselves and their properties from the risks of fire on Saturday evening as the Fire Brigades Union has announced a second period of industrial action as part of its dispute with the Government over reform of the firefighters’ pension scheme.

The strike is planned from 6.30pm to 11.30pm. An emergency response will be provided during the period, but this will not be ‘business as usual’.