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Warning school strikes could last until summer – your rights explained

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TEACHER strikes could last until the SUMMER, union chiefs have warned.
In bleak news for hundreds of thousands of parents, the National Education Union (NEU) yesterday said that unless ministers hike salaries, teachers will keep walking out of classrooms.
The first set of teacher strikes will go ahead tomorrow1The first set of teacher strikes will go ahead tomorrowCredit: GettyJoint NEU General Secretary Kevin Courtney told the Mirror: “We really want to resolve this before we reach the end of term but if there is no movement from Government and if members are still ready for it which I think they will be, then it could go into the summer term too.
“We are really hoping that we can find a solution before we get to that summer term but we do think it’s important that the Government understands it could go on longer.”
Tomorrow the first set of teacher strikes will go ahead after last-ditch talks between unions and ministers 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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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This is known as “parental leave” – but you must have worked for your employer for at least a year before you can take this leave.
You can take up to 18 weeks off for parental leave before your child turns 18, but your employer can limit this to four weeks off per year.

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