More than 200 schools closed across the region today as teachers took part in drastic large-scale strike action – affecting thousands of pupils and parents.
The strikes have been called by two of England’s biggest teaching unions in a row over pay, pensions and working conditions.
But today’s strikes caused major disruption to families with hundreds of schools either closed or partially closed.
Picket lines took place across the West Midlands as teachers rallied against working conditions and Government plans to bring in performance-related pay from this autumn.
Many union members were heading to Birmingham for a large march from Victoria Square to the ICC
In Wolverhampton there are 59 schools closed, with 69 shut in Staffordshire, 39 in Dudley, 16 in Sandwell and 52 in Walsall.
Dozens of schools – 69 in total – are partially closed, with 203 fully closed across the region.
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There was a picket line this morning at Oldbury Academy in Pound Road, which was today fully closed.
Seven teachers were on the line including maths teacher Anna Martin, who is also an NUT rep.
She said many parents supported their action.
Joseph Leckie Academy in Walstead Road West, Walsall was also fully closed today and six members of staff gathered on a picket line outside.
NUT member Peggy Tutrice, who teaches French, said: “Changes in the regulations will also affect parents.
“It means a headteacher could decide the length of the school day, and the length of school holidays which would affect families.”
The Nation Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT – which between them represents nine out of 10 teachers – launched the strike action.
Teachers on the picket line at Joseph Leckie Academy in Walsall this morning
Fallings Park Primary School, in Old Fallings Lane, was also among those to close.
Lindi Ackroyd, deputy headteacher at the school said: “We have around 450 pupils in the school and we cannot risk opening up with no way of knowing how many staff will be involved in the action.
“Every day a child is not in school is a day of education they have lost, but we have the means of making up any lost time through our intervention programme.”
Nearly 40 striking teachers rallied in Stourbridge town centre to protest against their pay, pensions and conditions of work.
The placard-waving protestors gathered under the town clock, at the junction of High Street, Market Street and Coventry Street as leaders with loud hailers made speeches against the Government’s stance on education.
Among those at the rally was supply teacher John Hodgetts, aged 53, of Amblecote, Stourbridge, who said: “I came into the profession 27 years ago to teach children in schools which were run democratically by people we elected. Now we are going to academies, where we don’t have any say.
“We are working more years for less pension and if we move schools our salaries are not protected.”
Many union members were heading to Birmingham for a large march from Victoria Square to the ICC.