Schools empty as teachers walk out

Teachers ready for a march in York. Left to right Gemma Houseman, Katy Owen-Smith, Jo Barron, Diane Whomersley  112654g
Teachers ready for a march in York. Left to right Gemma Houseman, Katy Owen-Smith, Jo Barron, Diane Whomersley 112654g
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HUNDREDS of classrooms were empty across Scarborough as teachers walked out on a 24 hour strike.

The action saw nine schools close completely and ten open with fewer than normal classes.

More than 6,000 pupils were affected in total as Scarborough teachers joined thousands across the country in a stand against the Government’s proposals for their pensions.

Also on strike were civil servants at Scarborough Magistrates and County Court, and Scarborough Job centre who are members of the Public and Commercial Services Union and are also affected by the pensions reform.

However both the courts and the job centre were able to run as normal following the introduction of contingency plans by the Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service.

Many of Scarborough’s schools were isolated yesterday though as the morning bell rang.

There was an official picket line outside Scarborough Sixth Form College where seven members of the National Union of Teachers waved flags and posters.

Steward MacDonald, history teacher and NUT representative at Scarborough Sixth Form College, said: “We are not in dispute with our employers at the Sixth Form College, were are joining a national campaign in opposition to the governments proposals.

“We wanted to join the national campaign, and we want to see the Government negotiate with the teaching unions.

“Staff have very reluctantly gone on strike but the feeling among them is that many are worried and fearful about the future of their pensions.”

As a result of the strike the college had to reduce its introduction course for prospective students from two days to one.

The majority of Scarborough’ secondary schools were closed including Scalby, Raincliffe, Graham and Filey, with George Pindar Community Sports College opening for all except 40 pupils.

Primary schools were also affected with Braeburn Junior, Gladstone Road Infants, Newby and Scalby, Filey Infants and Hunmanby all closing.

Partial closures were seen at East Ayton, Lindhead, St Peters, Seamer and Irton, Snainton, Wheatcroft, Hinderwell, St Martin’s and Braeburn Infants.

While there were no public protests in Scarborough a group of teachers travelled to York to take part in an official rally in the city.

Katy Owen Smith, a drama teacher at Graham School, organised a bus to take Scarborough teachers to join the rally.

She said: “We wanted to join the York rally as we wanted Scarborough teachers to be represented there. We are hoping the strikes will get the Government to take back their policy which extends our working life, takes more money from us every month, and gives us less back at the end of it.”