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Schools Out: Strike Action Hits Cornish Classes

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6:12am 17th October 2013
(Updated 6:12am 17th October 2013)

Teachers are striking from Saltash to Sennen and at more than a hundred other schools across the Duchy.

It is part of one day action in a row over pay and pensions.

But that is leaving thousands of parents with a major childcare headache.

Velven Gregory's children go to Launceston College. She said: "Normally I'd be going off to work. But no work - no pay.

"I feel I'm letting people down at work - and there are people worse off than me who have more childcare problems than I have."

Amanda Hill from Penzance has an autistic son. She said: "My son Adam will probably find it hard to focus and maybe become a bit obsessive because, without structure, Adam becomes a bit focused on the weather, his surroundings and sometimes has tantrums.

"What we will have to do is do a structured activity, such as take Adam off for a day out, which families do. But we'll have to be very careful about which environment we take him to since he has a habit of wandering off.

"But I do think the teachers are doing the right thing."

Members of two of the biggest unions, the NUT and the NASUWT, are walking out for one day over changes to pay and pensions.

They are accusing the government of not listening.

Dr Pat McGovern is head of Helston Community College. He said: "This is my fortieth year in the profession and I have only ever known dedicated, highly committed, hard working individuals who give their lives to this job. What they were hoping for was a proper response and they feel they haven't had that.

"No teacher will ever withdraw their labour and strike without there being good reason. I have to tell you, at the moment, feelings are running high."

Peter Waldren's secretary of Cornwall's NASUWT. He said: "It is unfortunate. Nobody wants to go on strike - teachers certainly don't want to go on strike. They are committed to teaching their children, they work incredibly hard. But they feel that the actions of this government are such that they are left with no choice.

"The whole focus is to promote the quality of curriculum delivery and teaching and learning in classrooms. That's what it's all about - it's about the future of our education service."

You can find a full list of the schools hit by today's action here.

6:12am 17th October 2013

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