Strike closed 10 schools in Ashfield

.West Notts college strike  from the left are Gordon Fay, Tim Bond and Mark Porter
.West Notts college strike from the left are Gordon Fay, Tim Bond and Mark Porter
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TEN schools in Ashfield were closed and others faced disruption on Thursday when teachers went on strike in their dispute with the Government over pensions.

Staff walked out for 24 hours in protest at proposed changes to their pensions, which ministers say are necessary to deal with an ageing population and shrinking public sector pensions’ fund.

Union bosses say the changes will lead to people in the public sector working longer, paying in more and receiving less when they retire.

Three teaching unions, the National Union of Teachers, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the University and College Union, as well as the Public and Commercial Services Union, balloted their members for industrial action.

And as the scale of the strike became clear last week, headteachers faced the difficult decision of whether to stay open.

Ashfield School remained open for years 10, 11 and 12 and the Year 11 limo day went ahead. It was closed to younger year groups.

Headteacher Dick Vasey said: “We had planned to have our Year 11 day so we couldn’t change that. We wouldn’t have considered closing the school because it is such an important day for the Year 11s and is the culmination of five years.

“The main thing is seeing each other dressed up and saying goodbye to staff.”

Elsewhere, secondary school classrooms at Sutton Centre, Kirkby College, Quarrydale School in Sutton, Selston Arts and Community College and Tibshelf School all fell silent as the schools were closed to students.

And pupils at Sutton’s Hillocks, Leamington and Carsic primary schools, as well as Sutton Nursery Centre, also had a day off.

Abbey Hill Primary School, Kirkby; Annesley Primary School; Bagthorpe Primary School, Selston; Bracken Hill Special School, Kirkby; Dalestorth Primary School, Sutton; Healdswood Infant School, Sutton; Holly Hill Primary School, Selston; Jeffries Primary School, Kirkby and Priestsic Primary and Nursery, Sutton, also faced disruption among some year groups.

Gordon Fay, an English lecturer at West Notts College, was on a picket line at Mansfield’s Derby Road campus on Thursday morning and said there had been plenty of support from the public.

“It was really good and positive,” he said. “We had a lot of people beeping from their cars to show their support.

“We were taking action against the Government and not the college.”

Later in the day, Gordon and other colleagues joined up to 2,000 people at a march through Nottingham to protest about pension changes and cuts to public services.