Highland schools are set to close for a day next Thursday (24th November) due to strike action by teachers.
Following notification of the industrial action by the Educational Institute of Scotland and the Association of Head Teacher and Deputes in Scotland unions, Highland Council has taken the decision to close schools to pupils across Highland on this date.
Teachers are striking over pay – with Unions calling for wage rises of 10 per cent.
An earlier offer of a five per cent increase was rejected, on the grounds that it would amount to a real terms cut when balanced against inflation and current cost of living pressures.
EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said: “All EIS members in all of Scotland’s schools will be called upon to take strike action next week unless a fair pay offer is made in time.
“Should no acceptable offer be received from employers by this time, our members will be called to take further strike action on two days in early January. The ball is very much in the court of COSLA and the Scottish Government – only an improved and acceptable offer can prevent strike action and an escalation to further action in this dispute.”
In a statement the council said: “The safe supervision of children and young people is of utmost importance and, given that we anticipate significantly reduced numbers of both management and teaching staffing in schools and early learning and childcare settings, a decision has been made to close all educational establishments to pupils.
“It is hoped that a clear decision will enable parents and carers to plan ahead for the disruption expected. A letter has been sent to all parents this morning (Friday 18 November) through the usual school channels.”
All Primary Schools including local authority ELC settings will be closed to pupils, and all secondary schools, special schools and off-site provision will be closed to pupils on 24th November.
School crossing patrols will not be in operation on this day, and school transport will not operate on this day.
A BACS payment will be made for those children and young people entitled to a free school meal based on low income (not universal entitlement).
While the council has been formally notified by the EIS and AHDS of their intention to strike, if there are any developments at a national level, and if strike action is averted in schools, this will be notified through the council website www.highland.gov.uk and through social media, as well as usual school communication channels.