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Grammar schools to close during strike by Northern Ireland teachers

By Rebecca Black

Published 28/11/2016

Education Minister Peter Weir
Education Minister Peter Weir

A number of Belfast's top grammar schools have been forced to make contingency plans as teachers prepare to strike on Wednesday.

Rathmore Grammar in the south of the city will only operate its sixth form, and Year 12 mock exams will go ahead as planned. It has informed parents on its website that pupils in Years 8 through to 11 will not be required to attend school on November 30.

< Click here to search the full list of schools affected >

The letter added: "Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience the above matter might cause. You will understand that these matters are outside the control of the school."

St Dominic's in west Belfast has advised parents that the school will only be open for Year 13 and Year 14 classes if the strike goes ahead.

In a note on their website, the school urged: "Please do not send your child(ren) to school on 30th November if your child's class is not included on this list as supervision is not available. Thank you for your patience and understanding."

It is understood that Strathearn School in east Belfast will also be affected.

Northern Ireland's largest teachers' union, the NASUWT, called its members out on strike following a dispute with employers over pay.

The unions have rejected an offer of a 0% pay rise for 2015/16 and 1% for 2016/17.

The NASUWT has threatened "rolling strike action" which will commence on Wednesday with action across the Belfast and Newtownabbey area. No details have yet been announced about future strikes.

Education Minister Peter Weir has repeatedly urged the union to call the action off, saying it will be "detrimental" to pupils and union members.

He also claimed the teaching unions had initially sought an annual pay rise of 8.23%, including increments, before reducing their demands to 3%. He added there was no more money in his budget to increase teachers' pay.

Parents are advised to check with their children's schools for information about possible strike action.

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