Teachers resist strike action calls

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PUPILS hoping for a little extra time off this summer were disappointed after Bicester’s two secondary schools remained open despite national strike action.

An estimated one in 12 teachers – around 100,000 in total – were due to walk out for the first national strike in 25 years, closing more than 3,000 schools and part-closing around 2,200 schools in England and Wales.

Some classes at Bicester Community College were disrupted, meaning around 150 of the college’s 1,200 students were not required to attend college yesterday.

Parents of the affected students from Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 were all sent letters, and the students were still welcome to come into college for the day.

Jason Clarke, principal of Bicester Community College, said: “Our priorities are always for the safety and welfare of our student community and we are confident that we have managed this challenging situation effectively.”

It was business as usual for pupils at Cooper School, with headteacher Ben Baxter informing parents the school would continue to function in the normal way.

But 47 schools were closed elsewhere in Oxfordshire yesterday, with a further 95 partially closed.

In Bicester, Langford Village School, Southwold School, St Edburg’s CofE School and St Mary’s Catholic School all reported some disruption.

Primary schools in Charlton-on-Otmoor, Chesterton, Fritwell and Launton also had some classes cancelled, although there were no outright closures.

Banbury School and Blessed George Napier were among those due to close for the day, while Buckingham’s Royal Latin School was only open to Year 7 and 8 pupils, and Magdalen College School in Brackley was only open for those in Year 12.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said teaching staff would have to pay 50 per cent more for their pensions under Government proposals.

“The Government has done nothing more today other than confirm it has no intention of listening to teachers. They are simply imposing draconian changes that will see teachers paying more, working longer and getting less with no evidence to back up these claims,” she said.