PARENTS are being warned of potential widespread strike action and disruption across schools in the Gazette area, next week.
West Sussex County Council released a statement, on Tuesday, about the impending protests as two of the country’s biggest teaching unions take industrial action, next Thursday.
Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) plan to strike in a row over pay, pension and workloads.
Last time these two unions took similar action, about 75 per cent of schools in West Sussex closed, a county council spokeswoman said.
Dave Thomas, secretary of the NUT West Sussex said: “We’re concerned about this deregulation of national pay system.
“We fear that this could lead to a complete deregulation of the school system, as we know it.
“We could have a completely fragmented system within our schools. This new performance-related pay system simply wouldn’t work.
“This is not about teachers wanting more money. This could lead to 300 schools each with their own rules, with teachers having to take on more work than ever before.
“This would just add a whole new level of bureaucracy and red tape for teaching staff to deal with and that’s completely unacceptable.”
The action is part of a regional round of strikes and is expected to impact hundreds of schools across the south-east.
One of the key issues of this wave of industrial action centres on the Department for Education’s desire to extend performance-related pay for teachers, giving more power to head teachers to reward staff. The teaching unions say that without clear rules, such a system would be open to abuse.
Parents are now being advised to check their child’s school to see what impact the industrial action is likely to have and whether the school will be closed or partially closed to some classes.
Decisions about whether to close a school for the day are taken by individual head teachers and governing bodies.
The county council has stressed that the industrial action is the result of a national dispute between the Government and the teaching unions over which it has no local control.
Mr Thomas added: “We always regret taking strike action. This is the last thing that we want to do. But we believe this is the only way to ensure the highest possible teaching standards.”
Details of any closures will be added to the county council website – www.westsussex.gov.uk – as soon as they are known.