Chaos for GCSE and A Level exams in latest teacher strike

OUT AGAIN: Teachers at TWGGS on strike last month

THOUSANDS of students who are about to sit their final exams are expected to be impacted by the teacher strikes this week. Nurses at Tunbridge Wells Hospital, however, remain at work.

Teachers at schools across Tunbridge Wells will be walking out of the classrooms tomorrow, April 27, and again on May 2 in a dispute over pay and conditions.

It is estimated that about 7,000 pupils will be affected across the Borough, including those about to sit their GCSE and A Level examinations.

The National Education Union (NEU) says it recognises that it is appropriate to seek arrangements with head teachers that allow exam-year students, Years 11 to 13, to attend schools on strike days for revision activities and exam practice.

Some schools have started making arrangements for the strikes, with St Gregory’s School remaining open for Years 10, 11, 12 and 13.

The strikes follow the unprecedented rejection of the Government’s pay offer of a £1,000 one-off-payment and a 4.5 per cent pay rise next year, with almost 200,000 union members voting 98 per cent in opposition to the offer, the largest opposition in the Union’s history.

The Union has been asking for a fully-funded above inflation pay rise that does not come from the school’s budget.

Nick Childs, South East Senior Regional Officer said: “The Government’s ongoing failure to listen to educators about the damage that underfunding of schools and real-term pay cuts to teachers is inflicting on education provision is deeply disappointing.

“To suggest a 4.3 per cent unfunded increase is acceptable when inflation is over 10 per cent and school funding is in crisis is insulting to our members and would force schools to make further damaging cuts to the education provision that we seek to protect.

“The Government still has time to avoid more damaging strikes, to ensure teachers are fairly paid, and to address the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.

“We deeply regret the disruption caused to parents, but we cannot stand by while such damage is being inflicted on our schools and the profession. We have agreed to work with heads and employers to permit exam classes for Year 11 and 13 to go ahead on strike days to avoid further disruption to these cohorts.”

Rallies will be held across the South East, with a march planned for May 2 at 10.15am in Calverley Grounds.

As well as affecting exam year students, primary school pupils will also be significantly impacted by the strikes, while one school will be offering a ‘wild’ alternative to the school day giving support to families during the strikes.

Ambleford Farm in Tunbridge Wells is giving local families the chance to ‘swap’ the conventional classroom for forest school, where children will learn den-building, fire-lighting and wildlife-spotting as well as games and storytelling.

The farm offers regular term-time sessions and sees the impending strike days as an opportunity for children to embrace nature and the outdoors.

Tiffany Morris, a parent of two children in Tunbridge Wells schools, said: “The strikes have been a source of stress for us, and we were worried about how we would manage with both parents working full-time.

As teachers join the picket line once again, nurses from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) will continue to work, after members at MTW voted ‘no’ to the industrial action called by the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) from April 30 to May 2.

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter