HUNDREDS of thousands of teachers are striking against government attacks on their terms and conditions today, with mass marches planned in towns and cities throughout the country.
The London demonstration assembles at 11.30am in Duchess Street, W1 and marches to Downing Street.
Tom Davies, past president Ealing NUT, told News Line: ‘It’s going to be really effective. All I hear from different NUT Secretaries across the London Region is that they will be out solid.
‘The majority of schools in London should be closed or running a skeletal service and nationally I’m sure it will be similar.
‘We have a secretary of state for education who is not only ignorant but arrogant and won’t talk to the trade unions, so strike action is our only alternative.
‘The issues are workload, pay and pensions. Teachers’ conditions have been completely undermined over the past four years and of course we are now faced with performance-related pay, to which we are completely opposed.’
Christine Blower, NUT General Secretary, said: ‘Teachers deeply regret the disruption caused by this strike action to parents and teachers. The Government’s refusal, however, to engage to resolve the dispute means that we have no alternative other than to demonstrate the seriousness of our concerns.
‘Teachers’ levels of workload are intolerable – the Government’s own survey, published last month, shows that primary school teachers work nearly 60 hours a week and secondary school teachers work nearly 56 hours a week. 2 in 5 teachers are leaving the profession in the first 5 years of teaching as are many others. This is bad for children and bad for education.
‘Destroying the national pay framework means that in every school head teachers and governors have to worry about developing a pay system instead of focussing on teaching and learning. The Government’s performance-related pay is unnecessary and will build unfairness and additional bureaucracy. Further, international evidence shows that performance-related pay does not work for schools.
‘Teachers do not believe that they can work to the age of 68 or even later for a full pension – and they don’t believe it is educationally desirable either.’