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Teachers set to strike again on March 15 and 16

Teachers are set to go on strike again this week as part of their ongoing industrial action.

The strikes – on March 15 and 16 – are the latest by the National Education Union (NEU) in a dispute over teachers’ pay and the underfunding of education by the government.

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.

A previous rally in Cambridge by teachers. Picture: Keith Heppell
A previous rally in Cambridge by teachers. Picture: Keith Heppell

The decision to open, restrict attendance, or close a maintained school is for the headteacher. The decision for academies rests with the relevant academy trust but is usually taken by the principal.

Jonathan Lewis, Director of Education for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough said: “We are expecting disruption again to schools on March 15 and 16, and expect some impact on all schools as a result of the action, even if they are fully open.

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

A previous rally in Cambridge by teachers. Picture: Keith Heppell
A previous rally in Cambridge by teachers. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Headteachers are writing to parents to enable 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.”

Headteachers will again be notifying parents and carers if possible before Wednesday whether they expect their schools to be open, closed, or partially closed.

While employees are not required to tell their employers whether they intend to take strike action, headteachers are entitled to ask staff in advance if they intend to strike so they can plan how to manage the strike.

Without a firm understanding of who is striking, school leaders must consider the impact on the health and safety of children and staff in deciding whether they remain fully open.

Where schools have no option but to restrict attendance, they should consider, where possible, providing remote education. Striking teachers cannot be compelled to set work for students to complete on the day of the strike and are encouraged by the NEU not to do so.

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.

The County Council will be updating the school closures page on its website regularly, as soon as schools provide information about closures on strike day.

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