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Cambridgeshire teachers asked to tell the head if they plan to strike

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Cambridgeshire schools face two possible days of disruption this week as some teachers will walk out for two days in a pay and funding row.

But the situation is complicated, admits Cambridgeshire County Council, who issued a statement today pointing out two conflicting views.

One is a reminder that “employees are not required to tell their employers whether they intend to take strike action”.

But in the same sentence the council added that “headteachers are entitled to ask staff in advance if they intend to strike so they can plan how to manage the strike”.

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The two scheduled strike days by the National Education Union (NEU) are planned for July 5 and July 7.

“The strikes have been called by the NEU in a dispute over teachers’ pay and the underfunding of education generally,” said a council spokesperson.

Jonathan Lewis, Director of Education for Cambridgeshire, and Peterborough said: “Schools are again anticipating significant disruption when teachers strike this week. Even schools which are fully open will see some disruption to the curriculum.

“We will be collating information on which schools are closed or partially closed and updating our website regularly.

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“Headteachers are writing to parents to allow them to make decisions. In the case of full closure, schools are being encouraged to support vulnerable children and critical worker children, although capacity is likely to be limited.”

The council spokesperson said that the Department for Education (DfE) has said it expects headteachers to take all reasonable steps to keep schools open for as many pupils as possible.

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“The decision to open, restrict attendance, or close a maintained school is for the headteacher,” said the spokesperson.

“The decision for academies rests with the relevant academy trust but is usually taken by the principal.

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“Headteachers will again be notifying parents and carers before the strike days if they can, whether they expect their schools to be open, closed, or partially closed.”

The county council says that without a firm understanding of who is striking, school leaders will consider the impact on the health and safety of children and staff in deciding whether they remain fully open.

“Headteachers may offer remote education, but this is not compulsory,” said the spokesperson.

The council says that advice from the DfE is that there is no legal requirement for schools to teach the curriculum on strike days and the offer around schools is likely to be limited.

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Cambridgeshire County Council will be updating the school closures page on its website regularly, as soon as schools provide information about closures on strike day: School closures – Cambridgeshire County Council

 

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