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Teachers WILL be paid after volcano disruption

PUBLISHED: 14:47 29 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:40 23 August 2010

TRAVEL WEARY; Ben Pearson, 15, from Gravesend Grammar finally on his way home.

TRAVEL WEARY; Ben Pearson, 15, from Gravesend Grammar finally on his way home.

TEACHERS absent from their classrooms because of volcano ash air travel disruption will not be docked pay. Bosses at teaching union NASUWT said it was concerned that some local authorities were attempting to penalise teachers stranded abroad. However Ken

TEACHERS absent from their classrooms because of volcano ash air travel disruption will not be docked pay.

Bosses at teaching union NASUWT said it was concerned that some local authorities were attempting to penalise teachers stranded abroad. However Kent County Council managing director for children, families and education, Rosalind Turner, assured teachers will not pay for their absence.

He said: "All schools will have plans in place to deal with staff absence. Headteachers and senior staff will be using these to make the necessary arrangements to cover any staff that are directly involved.

"This situation is beyond the control of teachers or other school staff. The advice to governing bodies is to treat this absence in the same way as when it snows and staff are unable to get in to work. This is a matter for individual schools to consider."

Meantime, the geography fieldtrip group from Gravesend Grammar School for Boys stranded in Iceland after the volcanic eruption returned home safely last Wednesday.

GCSE student Ben Pearson, 15, said: "We were within eight kms of the volcano. It was quite an experience. It was a sense of relief coming back and we were pleased. It was quite a geography fieldtrip."

A relieved mother, Susan Johncock, said she had nothing but praise for the school and the tour company for their efforts.

She added: "The school and the tour company could not have handled it any better. They have been been fantastic and they really looked after the youngsters. Without them we would have been tearing our hair out. We were kept informed right the way through and it was a lifeline."

Her son, A-level student Christopher, added: "We were told every morning and evening what the situation was. On the field work we were able to see things so we got a much better understanding about what happens.

"It was a great experience - we saw the volcano, an amazing sight."

Headteacher Geoff Wybar said: "We're glad to see them all back, obviously, and it's good to see them all safe and sound. They've had the opportunity to experience something that will probably be the only time in their lives they will get to experience.

"They went to do geography and they have had it in spades. I wouldn't say we were panicky at any time but of course we were always worried about getting them back mostly because we have an exam deadline on April 28."

The GCSE students are to take theor French Oral test as planned next Wednesday.

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