Michael Gove has told headteachers they have a 'strong moral duty' to ensure their schools stay open amidst next week's planned teachers' strikes.
The NUT and ATL unions are staging walkouts over changes to public sector pensions. Their actions will affect millions of pupils.
Writing to every headteacher in the country, Mr Gove said:
'The public and parents will expect all of us to put the interests of pupils first. We all have a strong moral duty to pupils and parents to keep schools open, and the Government wants to help you achieve that.'
Mr Gove said the rules for class sizes could be relaxed during the strike, and non-teaching staff could look after classes. He also gave permission for heads to change the timings of the school day to help parents and guardians organise childcare.
He said he was 'confident' headteachers would take 'effective steps' to make arrangements to ensure schools stayed open.
Are your children going to be affected by the strikes?
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