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Schools take the hit as teachers row continues
ALL secondary schools and some primary schools in west Dorset were due to be closed today, Thursday, amid strike action by school teachers.
Teaching staff have forced a shutdown of most schools with the a one-day walkout over pay, pensions and changes to the education system.
They include Colfox, Beaminster and Mountjoy. Woodroffe is closed except for sixth formers who can get in.
Charmouth Primary School is open.
The action by the National Union of Teachers (NUTNUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) is also affecting some primary schools.
There are around 2,000 members of the teachers’ unions in Dorset with many expected to take part in the national walk-out which has seen rolling strikes take place across England.
NUT Dorset secretary Geoff Cooke said: “It does seem likely that the majority of the membership is taking part.
“We are never pleased that schools are closing because it means children being sent home.
“Teachers search their consciences before doing this.”
He added: “Schools in Dorset are in danger of losing a lot of integrity, funding and prestige they have had for many, many years because of the education reforms.”
The final decision to close a school rests with the head teacher and chairman of governors – not Dorset County Council. Schools are not obliged to inform the council of their decision.
A Dorset County Council spokesman said: “We are working to ensure that as many pupils as possible can attend lessons during a planned teachers’ strike.
“The council has been urging schools to stay open, where possible, during the National Union of Teachers’ industrial action.
“Schools should be informing parents directly if headteachers and governors decide to close or partially close.
"School transport should run as normal where schools are open, and with modified services in areas affected by a school closure.
"The final decision as to whether a school remains open, closed or partially closed lies with the headteacher and the chair of governors.”
PARENTS’ group leader Margaret Morrissey blasted the teaching unions’ decision to take industrial action.
Mrs Morrissey, of Parents Outloud, said: “I am absolutely disgusted. It is not acceptable in any way.
“I don’t want to hear another teacher from the union ever complaining again if a parent takes a child out of school for a day.
“If it is okay for the teachers it is okay for the parents. They have shot themselves in the foot this time.”
Mrs Morrissey said the strike brought back memories of the wave of industrial action and school closures of the 1980s when she became involved in education and parents’ groups.
She said: “Parents do everything they can to support teachers but they will not support this. I am sad that they feel that they can do this. I’m not sure that they really think they are going to achieve by going on strike.”
Mrs Morrissey said that it would also cause problems in terms of child care arrangements.
She added: “It will make an awful lot of parents very cross and cause problems for them.
“The teachers will turn around and say that they are not babysitters. But they are professional educated people of whom we expect better.”
Beaminster School: CLOSED
Mountjoy School Beaminster: CLOSED
Sir John Colfox School: CLOSED
Thomas Hardye School: CLOSED
Woodroffe School: CLOSED (open to sixth- formers who can make it in) Bridport Primary School: CLOSED
Broadwindsor Primary School: reception CLOSED but primary open
Burton Bradstock School: OPEN
Charmouth Primary School: OPEN
Loders Primary School: CLOSED
Marshwood Primary School: OPEN
Mrs Ethelston’s Primary School, Uplyme: OPEN
Parrett & Axe Primary School, Mosterton: CLOSED
Powerstock Primary School: OPEN l Salway Ash Primary School: OPEN
St Catherine’s Primary School, Bridport: OPEN
St Mary’s Primary School, Bridport: OPEN
St Mary’s School, Beaminster: OPEN
St Mary’s, Thorncombe: OPEN
St Michael’s Primary School: OPEN
Sticklands Primary School, Evershot: OPEN
Symondsbury Primary School, Bridport: ‘LIKELY’ TO BE CLOSED
Thorner’s Primary School, Litton Cheney: OPEN
Winterbourne Valley First School, Winterbourne Abbas: OPEN