Parents fume as school warns it may text after 9am if strikes close it

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Angry parents have slammed a school over the way it plans to deal with the teachers strike on Wednesday. Bro Ogwr School in Wales says it intends to stay open. But this might change and parents might get a text after they have dropped their children off, to tell them they need to pick them up again.

Headteacher Jayne Dart made the warning in a letter to parents last week.

She wrote: “If classes need to be closed you will receive a text after 9am to collect your child(ren).”

The parents of a five-year old boy at the school in Bridgend, said it was unreasonable to expect parents to send their children in at all on strike day with such doubt about whether lessons would take place.

They said a text after 9am would be “unacceptably late” and said it would be very difficult to drop children off and then have to head straight back from work to collect them.

The couple, who did not want to be named because they are both key workers, said it would be easier for the school to decide to shut if there was so much uncertainty.

Teacher strikes in England and Wales threaten disruption to more than 23,000 schools on Wednesday.

The walkouts by teacher members of the National Education Union will be the first of seven days of strikes in February and March – after talks between the union and the Government failed to find a resolution.

The parents of the boy at Bro Ogwr School say they are barred from striking in their public service jobs and do not agree with teachers for walking out.

The boy’s father said: “I understand they have got problems but there is no apology in the letter from the school.

“If they are not sure then the school should just be shut.

“There is massive disruption to education after Covid and they haven’t thought about parents and children.

“No one is happy with their pay but I don’t agree with strikes.”

The boy’s mother says the uncertainty about what is happening has led them to decide to keep their son off school on Wednesday.

She said: “We have arranged for our son to stay with a family member while we go to work.

“I am shocked by the fact they said we can drop the children off if they aren’t sure they’ll stay open.

“A majority of schools are shutting so they should just do that too. I might get to work and suddenly get a text to pick him up. They are not thinking about the impact on working parents and I am frustrated about the strike and I am frustrated by this letter.”

A Bridgend Council spokesperson told Wales Online: “Individual schools are responsible for undertaking their own risk assessments and for making the final decision on whether to close their school fully or to just some cohorts of pupils.

“As it is the intention of all schools to remain open unless they are unable to do so, it may not be until the morning of the strike that some schools can determine whether they can remain open or will need to close fully or partially.

“Schools will provide updates through their usual communication methods and would like to thank parents/carers for their understanding at this time.”

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In the letter to parents of Bro Ogwr School it said: “The risk assessment currently highlights that the school will be open as normal on Wednesday 1 February.

“However, the situation and circumstances may change on the morning of the strike and we may need to close some classes for health and safety and safeguarding reasons.

“The school will make the best effort to stay open to all pupils where possible in line with strike conditions and Welsh Government and union guidelines.

“This decision cannot be made before 9am and, therefore, if classes need to be closed you will receive a text after 9am to collect your child(ren).”

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