STRIKE action by teachers in Worcestershire has been met with mixed reactions from people and parents in the county.
Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) walked out in day-long strikes yesterday partially closing 29 Worcestershire schools and fully closing five in a row over performance-related pay, pension changes and, what the union calls, excessive workload and bureaucracy.
But the action has been met with mixed feelings from the public with some saying it was unjust and others supporting the strike.
On your Worcester News' facebook page, Timothy Evans said: "Striking teachers should be fined £60 per pupil for taking time off in term time." This was supported by many others including Andrea Speedy Stevenson who said: "Teachers are on strike for personal reasons which, in theory, is no different to us keeping our kids off for a day so we can go to the beach."
Teacher Lisa Cassell also joined the debate on the other side of the argument stating that it was not the teachers that fined parents for tacking children out of school and they were just doing what they thought was right for future education. She said: "Teachers did not choose to fine parents for taking their children on holiday, neither did we create a system that makes teaching your children to the best of our ability using our own sound judgements impossible. If you would like to blame somebody, please write to your local MP in support of teachers.
"We are fighting for the best education for your, and future generation's, children. We are also losing out on a day's pay for your children, so please try to remember that."
John Ludlow commented that it was the government that had been voted in that had caused the strikes and Katie Widdop said that the striking staff were "defending education."
Unlike the other teachers' strikes, the NASUWT decided not to join the NUT in action this time as they felt progress had been made on the argument although general secretary Chris Keates warned that teachers would be expecting MP Michael Gove, Secretary of State for education, to show he was committed to them.
But, Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said members still felt it was essential they made a stand.
Speaking yesterday, she said: "Today has been a clear demonstration that teachers are thoroughly tired of the intolerable pressures they are being put under by the Coalition Government.
"Teachers are voting with their feet and leaving the profession in droves and there is the real danger of a teacher shortage crisis. Yet the Government continues to bury its head in the sand.
"As a matter of urgency the Government needs to address the real concerns of teachers by engaging seriously in the talks with the NUT and other teacher unions. The talks should not be about implementation of Coalition policies. Issues of excessive workload, performance related pay and unfair pension changes need to be discussed and we need to move forward constructively.
"Teachers cannot and will not take any more of the diktats from Government that are ruining teaching and education."
Yesterday's strikes got the attention of MP David Laws, Minister for Schools, who said he was willing to talk to the NUT.