Edinburgh schools: High schools will be partially or fully closed as two teaching unions stage walk-out

Schools in Edinburgh will be hit by teachers’ strike next Thursday

High schools in Edinburgh will be fully or partially closed next Thursday when members of two teaching unions go on strike over pay.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) and NASUWT are staging two days of targeted industrial action across Scotland, focused on different authorities on Wednesday and Thursday in pursuit of a “fair and just pay settlement”. The stoppage follows a one-day walk out last week by members of Scotland’s largest teachers’ union the EIS.

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All primary schools and early years provision in Edinburgh will open normally on Thursday, as will almost all special schools. And teachers who are not on strike are expected to be at school and take classes as normal. The council said it did not have a central list of how individual high schools would be affected, but parents were being contacted direct by their school.

Secondary schools will be partially or fully closed on Thursday when SSTA and NASUWT members are on strike.

A letter did go out to parents from the council, setting out the overall picture. Signed by the council’s acting head of schools Lorna French it said: “As only 10 per cent of the workforce will be involved, we will keep as many schools open as possible. Secondary schools which will be partially or fully closed have larger numbers of staff in the SSTA or NASUWT or have members of other unions who will not cover classes of striking colleagues. Teachers and other staff who are not striking will attend school to deliver teaching and learning.

“All primary schools and early years provision will remain open as normal. Almost all special schools will be fully open. All secondary pupils entitled to a free school meal will be able to collect it from school at lunchtime, even if their school is closed or partially closed. Clubs will run as normal.”

The letter said individual headteachers would be writing to parents to give them details of local arrangements. “As we cannot gather precise information in advance of industrial action, there may be additional disruption on the day, and we ask for your understanding if we have to take additional actions. We will do our best to keep you updated.”

The most recent pay offer from council umbrella body Cosla, which has been rejected by the teaching unions, would have given the lowest-paid teachers an increase of up to 6.85 per cent. Teachers earning under £40,107 would receive an increase of £1,926 per year, while those earning more would get five per cent.

Edinburgh’s education convener Joan Griffiths said: “I, along with many parents and carers, feel extremely frustrated that pupils are going to miss yet more time in schools due to the latest round of strike action. Educating our young people is a priority for us and we’ve done everything we can to keep as many schools open next Thursday so learning and teaching can continue. The Scottish Government and Cosla have to act now and get this sorted before more strikes take place. There’s still time to avoid the planned action next week by agreeing a deal with the trade unions. This has been dragging on far too long now and we want it resolved quickly so our young people don’t miss any more time in the classroom.”