Ahead of a possible day of industrial action on 5 July 2016, Hampshire County Council has been providing advice to the County’s schools on the implications of the potential action.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is in an on-going national dispute with central Government in respect of reforms to the education sector, as well as teachers’ pay, conditions and pensions.
The County Council has written to all head teachers at its schools, providing information for staff on the implications of participating in industrial action or otherwise being absent, or partially performing work duties on the day of industrial action. This action also has the potential to impact on academy schools.
Ahead of the strike action, head teachers are being asked, where possible, to ascertain whether any staff will be striking so they may determine the likely impact on their school and whether the impact is likely to mean that the school will need to implement a full or partial school closure. This is to enable parents and carers to be advised in advance, if possible, so that they can make alternative arrangements where required.
It is unlikely to be possible to predict the level of impact of the industrial action in Hampshire as teachers do not have to advise their head teacher of their intention to strike. If Hampshire members of the NUT unions do decide to take action there is likely to be some disruption.
Schools and education centres have been advised to use the County Council’s usual procedures to notify parents and the County Council of any closures or other arrangements such as partial closures, by updating full details on the County Council website www.hants.gov.uk/schoolclosures. Where known, schools will be able to notify closures on the website up to five days in advance of the action.
Councillor Peter Edgar, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, said: “I hope the decision of the union to ask its members to take part in a day of industrial action does not lead to widespread disruption to pupils’ education. This dispute is not with the County Council but with central Government over changes to teachers’ pay, pensions and conditions, as well as reforms to the education sector.
“Any decisions to close schools will be for individual head teachers and their governing bodies to make. They will have to decide whether they have sufficient staff to enable them to open the school safely, and maintain a full or revised curriculum, and it may not be possible for schools to gauge the impact of the strike until the actual day. Staff that strike will not be paid for that day in accordance with nationally set legislation. As always, the County Council’s primary concern is for the education and welfare of children.”