The secondary school system will virtually grind to a halt in Kirklees tomorrow.
Tens of thousands of teenagers – as well as thousands of younger children – will have an extra day’s holiday as the one-day strike by teaching unions NUT and NASUWT will force the vast majority of high schools to close their doors to students.
It is a mixed picture among primary schools, with some staying open, while others are either partially open or completely closed to pupils.
Among Kirklees secondary schools only The Mirfield Free Grammar and Sixth Form, Batley Grammar and BBG Academy are managing to stay fully open.
Nether Hall Learning Campus High School, is only open to Years 12, 13 and 14 , while Rawthorpe Juniors and Infants are all closed.
But free school lunches will still be provided for all eligible pupils.
Newsome High School and Sports College is closed to students, except those in Year 11 sitting mock exams.
In Calderdale, Rastrick High will be open for Years 11, 12 and 13 and closed to all other students.
Brighouse High, Crossley Heath and Brooksbank at Elland are all closed to pupils.
Teachers at some of the larger schools, such as Honley High, are expected to mount picket lines outside school.
Others are travelling to a rally in Sheffield to hear their national leaders speak, while some are attending the West Yorkshire NUT rally in Leeds.
Teachers claim that major changes are being made to their pay, working conditions and pensions and that Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, refuses to negotiate with them.
The unions, which represent 90% of Kirklees teachers, claim that the Yorkshire and the East Midlands strike is an action of last resort and is taken with a heavy heart.
NUT join secretary Howard Roberts said: “We are expecting a very high level of support, but we look upon this with an extremely heavy heart as a sad day.
“Teachers don’t want to strike, it is not what we are in the job for. They are one of the most rational and reasonable groups of people, but the Secretary of State simply won’t negotiate. He is imposing all of these changes on us which affect teachers and education, what are we supposed to do?
“Mr Gove is driving people away from the profession. It is really frightening that young teachers are leaving the profession in droves.”
He added that in Wales the Education Minister had agreed to negotiate with union leaders and the teachers’ strike had immediately been called off.
NUT National Executive member Patrick Murphy said: “Teachers do not want to take strike action, but see no alternative whilst there is no serious attempt by this government to address the serious concerns raised by teachers, together with his continued refusal to properly engage with the profession.
“Forcing teachers to work until they drop and making their job even harder to do will do nothing to increase standards or give children a better experience at school. In opposing these attacks our members are not simply defending their conditions, they are standing up for education.”
Today’s strike will be followed by a day of action by London teachers on October 17, after which union leaders will reassess the situation.
A list of closed primary schools is online at www2.kirklees.gov.uk/community/education-learning/schoolclosure/closurelist.aspx .
The Kirklees secondary schools closed to students are:All Saints Catholic College, Almondbury High School and Language College, Castle Hall Academy, Colne Valley Specialist Arts College, Batley Girls’ High School, Batley Business and Enterprise College, Heckmondwike Grammar School, Holmfirth High School, Honley High School, King James’s School, Manor Croft Academy, Moor End Academy, Nether Hall Learning Campus High School, Newsome High School and Sports College (except for mock exams), Royds Hall High School, Salendine Nook High School Technology College, Shelley College, Spen Valley High School, St John Fisher Catholic High School, Thornhill Community Academy, Westborough High School.
In Calderdale, Brighouse High School, The Brooksbank School Sports College and The Crossley Heath School are among the many schools which will shut their doors to students.