SCHOOLKIDS could face “super-sized” classrooms with SIXTY pupils from tomorrow as teachers go on strike.
Class sizes could double as at least 120,000 staff walk out across England and Wales on Wednesday.
1More than 23,000 schools are due to be affected by strike action on WednesdayCredit: GettyThe strike action comes after negotiation talks between Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and union bosses failed yesterday.
Chris McGovern, a former policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher, told the Daily Mail: “Non-striking teachers may find themselves heavily over-burdened by having to teach super-size classes of 60 children.”
The National Education Union (NEU) yesterday said that unless ministers hike salaries, teachers will keep walking out of classrooms.
Tomorrow the first set of teacher strikes will go ahead after last-ditch talks failed.
More than 23,000 schools will be affected in the biggest day of industrial action for a decade – with many shutting altogether.
It means up to 4.5million schoolkids could be affected, sparking chaos for parents and pupils alike.
Members of the NEU in England and Wales have demanded huge inflation busting pay rises.
But ministers say this unaffordable and would only make inflation even worse.
Union chiefs yesterday revealed their talks with Education Secretary Gillian Keegan had not led to a breakthrough and they would go ahead with their strikes as planned.
Figures suggest that up to 150,000 teachers could be out on strike tomorrow and on subsequent national school strike days.
Staff at Oasis Academy Hadley in Enfield, North London, are allowed to bring their kids to school if their own is affected by strikes.
Head teacher Zoe Thompson told The Daily Mail: “Teachers are parents as well, and their children are going to be affected and so in order to maximise our staff coming in, we’re also enabling them to bring their children in as well.
“We do have some of our children who are going to have to be at home.
“I’m not sure if I am going to have enough teachers to have everyone on site safely.”
The Department of Education has advised schools to stay open for their vulnerable pupils and children of key workers.
Activity days in the place of lessons may be a solution schools use in order to keep school gates open.
Steve Chalke, founder of the Oasis Charitable Trust, which has 52 schools and educates more than 31,000 pupils, said schools have been “creative” to stay open.
He said: “The role of a school is not just to sit a child at a desk in a classroom.
“The role of a school is to provide that child with social and emotional content and support.
“And so if you’ve got kids in and they are playing football, or they are watching a film or they are watching a play, or they are doing some group games and activities, or they are just sat there with some youth workers, or they are just sat in an extended lunch, all of those things are good and important.”
When are teachers striking?
On February 1 school staff in England and Wales will stage their first walkout.
The action will be the first of seven days of strike chaos planned by furious NEU teachers in England and Wales throughout February and March.
Then, strikes will go ahead on a regional basis on February 14 and 28, and March 1, 2.
Finally, nationwide walkouts in England and Wales will take place on March 15 and 16 if a pay deal has not been met.
Should I send my child to school?
Schools that are set to be fully or partially closed will communicate this with parents and guardians.
Many families will already have been informed whether their children will have to remain at home on Wednesday.
If you have received no information from the school telling you that it is closed or that it cannot provide a place for your child, you still have a legal duty to send them to school unless they are ill.
However, if your child’s school is closed, you are allowed to take reasonable time off to care for a child, according to Citizen’s Advice.
Known as dependent leave, workers can take time off if “care arrangements for a dependent suddenly break down” or “an unexpected incident involving your child at their school” occurs.
However this will be unpaid leave unless your contract says otherwise.
Can you take time off work if your child’s school is closed due to strikes?
Industrial action hitting UK schools will undoubtedly affect your child’s education as teachers agree to walk out.
But school closures bring with it the additional worry of childcare, with parents concerned whether they can take time off.
But worry not – the answer is yes, you can.
You are entitled to take reasonable time off work to deal with an unexpected problem or emergency.
This is also called “dependant leave”, according to Citizens Advice.
Your employer can’t refuse dependant leave if you have no other option.
You also won’t face disciplinary action or lose your job.
Many employers are flexible with staff who have to care for their children due to unexpected circumstances, such as educational strike action.
If your child is under the age of 18, then you also have other rights to time off.
Walkout Wednesday will also see 500,000 other workers stay at home in scenes likened to a general strike.
Train drivers, civil servants, university lecturers, bus drivers and even security guards will all hang up their uniforms in rows over pay.
Will my child’s school be closed?Some schools will have to close completely on strike days, while others will see learning disrupted
The decision to close schools will be up to the head teacher, although in Wales this will also be done in consultation with local authorities.
Schools should try to stay open, the government says.
However, many are likely to be at least partially closed.
Individual teachers don’t have to say if they will strike and there are no rules for when parents must be told about closures.
If a school does open, there are no minimum staffing rules and heads can use agency staff and volunteers to cover classes. They do not have to stick to the curriculum.
Schools may choose to offer remote education to pupils at home, but this is not compulsory.
As in England, head teachers decide whether to close.
The Welsh government says schools and local authorities should ideally provide a week’s notice of any closure.
It says it’s up to individual schools to decide how best to minimise the impact of the strikes on their students.
Almost all primary and secondary schools have closed on strike days. Local councils make this decision.
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk