School strikes: Council chief issues apology to parents over emergency closures due to strike action

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Parents are ‘frustrated’ as strikes will see pupils miss out on three days of classroom time.

A council chief has apologised to parents over upcoming emergency school closures, which will mean pupils in Edinburgh will ‘miss yet more time in schools’ due to latest round of strike action by staff.

It comes as a letter was issued to parents and carers in the Capital confirming strikes will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week, forcing the closure of schools and early years settings ‘for the safety of children and young people’.

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The row over pay will see walkouts by pupil support assistants and early years colleagues as well as catering, transport escorts and cleaning staff hit schools across Edinburgh and Scotland. Education bosses said they have ‘done everything’ they can to keep schools open and called on COSLA and the Scottish Government to act urgently to stop the strikes going ahead next week.

School strikes set to go ahead next weekSchool strikes set to go ahead next week
School strikes set to go ahead next week

Cllr Joan Griffiths, education, children and families convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “I, along with many parents and carers, feel extremely frustrated that pupils are going to miss yet more time in schools due to this latest round of strike action. Educating our young people is a priority for us and we’ve done everything we can to keep our schools and nurseries open but it’s just not been possible.

“It’s obvious lessons haven’t been learned from previous strikes and the Scottish Government and COSLA have to act now and get this sorted – there’s still time to avoid the planned action next week by agreeing a deal. Everyone wants this to be resolved quickly so our young people don’t miss any more time in the classroom and to lessen the impact it will have on families with children being at home for the three days instead of in their schools.”

Parents have been advised that individual schools and nurseries will share their plans for contingency learning and checking in with families for the three days during closures.

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Amanda Hatton, director for children, education and justice services, said: “We have been notified by the trade union this will take place on Tuesday, September 26, Wednesday, September 27 and Thursday, September 28. The impact means all our schools and early years settings will close on those days if the strike action goes ahead.

"The industrial action also affects childcare provision by Out of School Care providers and means families will need to make alternative arrangements for the three days. Lets will also not be able to go ahead during the strike action. Children and young people should attend as normal on Monday, September 25 and Friday, September 28.

"Should there be any changes to the planned industrial action, we will be in contact with you immediately. I am sorry that these arrangements have had to be put in place to close our schools and early years settings but I hope you understand our position."

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