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St Josephs Primary School, Slate Street, Belfast
Be in your line for quarter to 9! Punctuality limits disruption to teaching 😊
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School CLOSED until 12 noon on Wednesday 29th November

23rd Nov 2023

Dear Parents/Guardians

Half day of strike action by teachers and school leaders on 29 November 2023

I am writing to you about forthcoming strike action by the five teaching unions in Northern Ireland. You may have seen coverage of this in the news, and I wanted to inform you about the impact this is likely to have at our school.   

Unfortunately, ALL our teaching staff, including the principal are on strike that morning.

A risk assessment has been conducted which considers the impact that the action will have on the health and safety of pupils, staff and visitors, and whether the school can run a full or amended curriculum, to determine whether it is possible to operate the school safely during the strike. 

As there will be no teachers in school, St Joseph’s will  be CLOSED until 12 noon on Wednesday 29th November.  The gates of the school will not be open until 12 noon and we ask you to not bring your children to school before that time. 

School dinners will be served from 12.15 and those children who usually bring a packed lunch should do so.

School will operate as normal after 12 noon and afterschool clubs will take place.

Strike Action is a last resort and is not taken likely by all those involved.  We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Why is there a strike? – notes from Teaching Unions below

  • Education in Northern Ireland has been systematically defunded in recent years, resulting in decimating reductions in support, resource and capacity.
  • The teaching profession has filled in the growing gaps, holding the fragmenting system together and protecting children from the impact of the cuts.
  • Pay paralysis, when set alongside the working conditions of the teaching profession in Northern Ireland, is having a devastating impact on the profession, with clear evidence that we will not be able to recruit or retain teachers and school leaders in the future if these issues are not resolved. Education is in crisis.
  • Other public sector workers in Northern Ireland have also received pay increases during this time.
  • Teachers across the UK and Ireland have received their normal pay increases, several times over the last three years. Teachers in Northern Ireland have received nothing.
  • All five teaching unions have been in dispute for over a year, during which time no offer has been made.
  • During this year of dispute, action has been gradually escalated, in the hope that an offer of resolution would be forthcoming.
  • Taking strike action is the last resort. This could have been avoided and, indeed, can still be avoided.
  • The responsibility to resolve this dispute lies squarely with the employing authorities and the Department of Education. When a strike takes place, those taking strike action stop work and withdraw their labour. Everyone involved in the action will, therefore, not teach class(es) or undertake any other duties before 12.00 noon on the strike day.