Up to 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union are expected to take action on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday over pay, jobs and conditions. Network Rail has claimed up to six days of disruption could follow due to knock-on disruption on days between strikes.
A Level and GCSE exams across England will continue this week, with many students putting pens down for a final time on Friday.
However, a teacher has claimed one student at a school in London is having to make a four-and-a-half hour journey to take her maths exam on Tuesday.
According to Sky News, other pupils have opted to book hotels or stay with friends as Brits brace for the worst train strike for three decades.
Jenny Brown, headteacher of the City of London School for Girls, said the “double-whammy” of a rail and London Tube strike on Tuesday was especially problematic, particularly for a school in the heart of the capital in which students rely on public transport.
She said: “We’ve had to do a lot of thinking about how we look after those pupils, contingency arrangements.
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“Some – where possible – are staying with local friends, and for those who have long journeys it’s required a lot of careful thought.
“A few have booked Travelodges, some are staying with local friends.
“I’ve just heard from one pupil who’s going to take four and a half hours for her journey, to make sure she gets there for her maths exam in the afternoon.”
However, Ms Brown also claimed she now expects many schools will submit exceptional circumstances requests to exam boards to help students who cannot arrive at the exam hall on time.
Other headteachers stressed the need for students to take precautionary measures to overcome the challenge.
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Pepe Diiasio, head of Wales High School in Rotherham, even said people should have a “plan B in their back pocket” to get to school.
The impact on students was also raised in Parliament by Southend West’s Tory MP Anna Firth.
Ms Firth said: “Those on the other side who refuse to condemn these strikes have no regard to the potential effect on the exam results of children taking GSCEs and A-levels up and down the country.
“Both AQA and Edexcel, both well known exam boards, have confirmed that they will not allow the strikes or their impact to be used as grounds for appeal for students who arrive late or perhaps are unable to arrive at all.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps responded by highlighting how the strike was adversely affecting his daughter.
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