THIRTY schools in Leeds closed their doors yesterday or were forced to partially close because of a 24-hour nationwide strike by teachers.
Leeds City Council said there had been 15 schools closed and another 15 partially closed in the city as a result of the action.
The National Union of Teachers also staged a rally in the city centre to highlight their campaign which is calling for more Government funding for schools.
The union said its demands were to increase funding to schools and education, guarantee terms and conditions in all types of schools, and to resume negotiations on teacher contracts to allow workload to be addressed. The NUT claims funding to schools is being cut in real terms, leading to increased workloads for teachers and bigger class sizes.
Acting general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “This has been a very well supported strike both by NUT members and the general public. We thank all those parents who have supported us despite the inconvenience it may have caused. This strike should not have been necessary.
“The NUT will keep campaigning to ensure that the education our children receive is not compromised through school budget cuts. We must invest in our education. Government needs to start listening.”
Schools minister Nick Gibb told the Commons: “The industrial action by the NUT is pointless but it is far from inconsequential – it disrupts children’s education, it inconveniences parents and it damages the profession’s reputation in the eyes of the public.
“But because of the dedication of the vast majority of teachers and head teachers, our analysis shows that seven out of eight schools are refusing to close.
“Our school workforce is, and must remain, a respected profession suitable for the 21st century, but this action is seeking to take the profession back, in public perception, to the tired and dated disputes of the 20th century.”
The Government says the schools budget is the highest it has ever been this year at £40bn, and has gone up £4bn since 2011-12.
But the NUT says that in real terms the budget for classrooms has gone down, leading to bigger class sizes and increased workloads for teachers.
The Department for Education pointed out that only 24 per cent of NUT members took part in a ballot on strike action, adding that the Secretary of State wrote to the union before yesterday’s action, saying it was “disingenuous” to suggest school funding was not being prioritised.
The Education Department said that out of the 21,957 publicly funded schools in England, 52.7 per cent were open, 17.4 per cent partially open, 10.2 per cent were closed and the status of 19.7 per cent was unknown.
The list of Leeds schools that were shut or partially closed as a result of the industrial action includes:
*Allerton Bywater Primary School
*Bracken Edge Primary School
*Carr Manor Primary School
*Chapel Allerton Primary School
*Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School
*Greenmount Primary School
*Hawksworth C of E Primary School
*Kippax Ash Tree Primary School
*Kirkstall Valley Primary School
*Meadowfield Primary School
*Meanwood C of E Primary School
*Moor Allerton Hall Primary School
*New Bewerley Community School
*Oulton Primary School
*Raynville Primary School
*Richmond Hill Primary School
*Rothwell Primary School
*Shire Oak C of E Primary School
*Spring Bank Primary School
*St James’ C of E Voluntary Controlled Primary School, Wetherby
*St Matthew’s C of E Aided Primary School
*Swarcliffe Primary School