Strike action at middle schools in north Northumberland to continue, but latest talks 'more positive'

Members of the NASUWT union outside County Hall earlier today ahead of a meeting with Northumberland County Council.Members of the NASUWT union outside County Hall earlier today ahead of a meeting with Northumberland County Council.
Members of the NASUWT union outside County Hall earlier today ahead of a meeting with Northumberland County Council.
Middle school staff in parts of north Northumberland will continue to go on strike over the threat of job losses, but the union involved is more hopeful that an agreement can be reached with the county council.

The action has been taken at Berwick Middle, Tweedmouth Middle and Glendale Middle in Wooler last Thursday and today (Tuesday). Further action is planned on Thursday (June 13) and on June 18, 19 and 20.

All three schools will close on August 31, 2026 as part of a Berwick Partnership reorganisation which will see a move from a three-tier to two-tier education system.

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The move was approved by Northumberland County Council last year but, in taking strike action, the NASUWT union claimed that the local authority is refusing to consider either redeployment or voluntary redundancy schemes for affected teachers.

However, the most recent meeting today was described as “more positive” and another meeting is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Steve Bird, NASUWT Northumberland Secretary, said last Thursday: "We apologise to parents for any inconvenience strike action has caused, but at the end of the day we can’t allow so many people to be made redundant.”

After the meeting at County Hall in Morpeth today (Tuesday), he said: “The meeting today was more positive than previous meetings.

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“Although it was not enough for us to call off our strike action on Thursday, if the council firms up a timeline for the mitigation measures discussed at our meeting today to be put in place by our next scheduled meeting on Thursday afternoon, then we would review the situation for whether to go ahead with the strike action next week.

“We would like to remind people that this is not about the decision to change to a two-tier system, it's about protecting jobs, and also those who take strike action are not paid on the days they are on strike.”

From September 2025, the partnership’s first schools will expand their age range up to 11 to become primary schools and Berwick Academy will become an age 11 to 18 secondary academy from September 2026.

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