School’s out for 17,000 Hackney pupils as teachers’ strike closes classes

More than 17,000 pupils will stay at home today as teachers’ strikes shut the majority of Hackney’s primary and secondary schools.

More than 17,000 Hackney pupils will stay at home tomorrow (Thursday) as teachers’ strikes shut the majority of primary and secondary schools.

At least 51 out of 73 schools are expected to fully close in the face of nationwide walkouts by members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the University and College Union (UCU).

Fourteen others have reduced classes.

Supporters say the government’s proposed changes to teachers’ pension schemes will see them working longer, paying more and receiving less when they retire.

“This is a tough job and a really worthwhile job and this government is trying to make us pay for the banking crisis and we are saying ‘No’,” said Hackney’s NUT representative Mark Lushington.

Parents will be picking up the pieces - with education secretary Michael Gove suggesting they even take classes themselves.

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Tina Rowe, 31, who has two children at Princess May Primary School and one at Stoke Newington School, said: “I think it is ridiculous. Teachers spend enough time off already. Everyone is making sacrifices.

“I will have to find someone to look after my kids.”

Father-of-five, Joel Adams, who is in his late 50s, said: “Teachers have the right to protest about their pensions - but then again missing a day of school is quite detrimental to the children.

“I do not think it would be fair on the teachers if parents took classes, but it would be fairer for the children. It’s a difficult situation.”

The five schools fully open today are Yesodey Hatorah School, Lubavitch Ruth Lunzer Girl’s Jewish School, St Monica’s Catholic Primary School, Springfield Primary School and St Mary’s Primary School.

Mr Lushington said Mr Gove’s suggestions were “absolutely disgraceful”.

“We are very sympathetic to parents, especially if they are working – it is enormously difficult.

“But we have massive support from them because they recognise that there will be a real problem recruiting and retaining good teachers if these changes go through.”

Steve Belk, acting chief executive of The Learning Trust said: “I am confident that Hackney schools would have made every effort to remain open, however, managing a group of children is far harder than many anticipate.

“A school needs to manage all the associated risks in such a situation and a professional member of staff would need to be present to make this a viable option.”

Parents are advised to contact the school for more information.