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2,000 Edinburgh pupils return to classrooms after closures

Edinburgh Council closed 17 schools due to a 'significant and new construction issue'. Credit: Andrew Milligan / PA

Around 2,000 Edinburgh pupils will return to classrooms on Wednesday following the closure of 17 schools amid serious safety concerns.

Pupils from Oxgangs and St Peter's schools will use alternative arrangements, but around 5,000 are still waiting at home.

Alternative measures have also been arranged for Craigroyston and Castleview primary schools.

Craigroyston pupils will be relocated to Craigroyston Community High School on a phased basis, while Castleview pupils will be relocated to Castlebrae High School from 19 April.

Andrew Kerr, chief executive of the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "I fully recognise the significant inconvenience to parents caused by these closures, and I want to thank them for their patience as we continue to work through this issue."

The council closed 17 schools on 8 April due to "a significant and new construction issue". The closures affect around 9,000 students.

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Teachers may strike over 'intolerable' classroom workload

Teachers look set to ballot over strike action Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Teachers could be set to strike over 'intolerable' classroom workloads after voting on a motion suggesting the use of industrial action during this weekend's National Union of Teachers conference.

Members of the profession attending the annual conference voted in favour of "building a campaign to persuade members that national strike action will be necessary to bring about changes in the intolerable working conditions, and lack of work-life balance, created by current Government policies".

The agreement to consider industrial action came as NUT members spoke of the pressures they face which they claim are driven by increasing student numbers, a growing teacher shortage, and reduced funding for schools.

Laura Fisher, a teacher from Wakefield, told the conference that while strike action was difficult she believed it may be necessary.

She said: "I know striking is a difficult subject, it is still the biggest debate within ourselves. People say, 'I didn't become a teacher to strike'.

"But every day I strike, I am teaching children the biggest lesson of all - that their education is worth fighting for."

Members will still need to be balloted before any strike action can get the go ahead.

NUT deputy asks to see supporting evidence for reforms

NUT says it wants to see evidence behind academies plan Credit: David Davies/PA

The National Union of Teacher's deputy general secretary has challenged the Education Secretary to provide evidence in support of the Government's plans for sweeping school reforms.

It emerged today that the NUT's Kevin Courtney sent an open letter to Nicky Morgan on Wednesday, outlining concerns that plans to turn all schools into academies by 2020 had been founded on scant evidence.

He wrote:

You propose the forcible academisation of 17,000 primary schools. However, and astonishing for such a far-reaching proposal, there is no evidence section in the White Paper to support this belief. Can you explain why you have not produced evidence which shows academy schools doing better than comparable local authority schools?

– Kevin Courtney, NUT
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