Staff from a school in East Lancashire are taking strike action starting today (Tuesday, April 23) over their employer wanting to remove union members from the Teachers' Pensions scheme and trade union recognition.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) is starting its strike this morning, which will continue on Wednesday and Thursday, with more strike dates possible in May, June and July if the issues are not resolved.

The strike action and picket line will affect Aurora Woodlands school, an independent special education school in Darwen on Holly Tree Close.

Claire Ward, the NASUWT national executive member for Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool and Lancashire, and NASUWT negotiating secretary for BwD, said: "The government is fully funding the increase contributions to the Teachers' Pensions, but the school's trust is wanting to remove members form it, offering instead a defined benefits service.

"They are also refusing to engage with NASUWT representatives in order to seek to resolve the dispute, with strike action already taken place in our Eastern region at Aurora schools."

Aurora Woodlands is an independent school that provides specialist education for students aged 10 to 19 years with special needs, ran by 'The Aurora-Group' trust.

Claire added: "The trust is planning to remove people from the Teachers' Pensions and say they don't have enough money for it, but independent special schools have full funding from the government for these increases, so they can pay it and have admitted it, but are choosing not to.

"The trust has come back with other proposals to keep the pensions until 2025 but their employer contributions will then be capped and make the teachers pay additional inputs, which is basically a pay cut for the teachers.

"Two schools in the Eastern region have taken action and four schools in the Stoke-on-Trent area are looking to take action, so it is a nationwide issue. It has been going on for a while.

"We have vulnerable children here and there have been thoughts about an alternative timetable for the pupils, but all the staff members are part of the union and will not be in.

"It is a shame as they need that consistency from teachers, and unless the trust engages more strike days will continue," 

The Aurora-Group has been contacted for comment.