Edinburgh teachers' strike: All city schools will close next Thursday due to one-day stoppage

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Education chief apologises to Edinburgh parents for disruption

All schools in Edinburgh will be closed next Thursday because of the teachers’ strike, education bosses have confirmed.

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), Scotland’s biggest teaching union, are staging a one-day walk-out over pay after 96 per cent of members backed strike action on a turnout of 71 per cent. Union leaders say the latest five per cent offer from the Scottish Government and council umbrella body Cosla amounts to a real-terms wage cut of almost eight per cent. Members of the Association of Heads and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS) are taking industrial action on the same day.

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In a letter to parents, city education director Amanda Hatton said: “As almost all teachers will be involved, schools will be closed on that day. Teachers and other staff who are not striking will work from home. Headteachers will send out details of the learning and pastoral support that will be provided as soon as possible.”

She added that term-time nursery classes within primary schools would be closed, though all other settings would be open, with specific arrangements emailed separately. Children eligible for free school meals will be given Thursday’s lunch to take home on Wednesday with instructions for keeping it fresh until used. There will be no clubs other than evening classes which take place after 6pm.

Ms Hatton continued: “It is unfortunate that we have had to take these decisions, but with so many staff likely to be taking part in the industrial action, it is not possible to safely open schools. I appreciate that the planned industrial action will cause disruption to families who will have to make alternative childcare arrangements and apologise for this.”

Meanwhile Edinburgh education convener Joan Griffiths called on Cosla and the Scottish Government to get round the table and do everything they could to stop the strike taking place. She said: “We fully realise the impact that closing our schools next week will have on not only parents and carers but also our young people however the planned strike action has left us with no choice. Our top priority will always be our young people’s education but the Scottish Government and Cosla must act now and get round the table immediately with the unions to come up with a deal that avoids these potential strikes. They waited far too long when it came to resolving the bin strikes in the summer and it caused untold disruption across Edinburgh and other cities in Scotland.

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“Our young people have already missed enough time in the schools through the pandemic without having to suffer more lost learning away from the classroom. For the sake of our children’s education the Scottish Government and Cosla must get this sorted as a priority.”