Hackney teachers strike and march on Parliament
- Credit: Archant
From Broadcasting House to Parliament Square, they marched. Thousands of striking teachers waved colourful banners and sang loudly: “no ifs, no buts, no education cuts”.
Tuesday’s walk out over education funding and teachers’ pay and conditions forced a majority of schools in Hackney to entirely or partly close.
A handful of teachers formed a picket line outside Hackney Town Hall in the morning, waving banners and flags.
They then joined the thousands marching through central London with their local NUT branches under large fabric flags.
In support, parents in campaign group Hackney Parents Supporting Education staged a picnic protest in Clissold Park.
Stoke Newington mum-of-two Anna Edmundson said: “Teachers are standing up to protect our children’s rights to the best start in life and an education delivered by trained professionals that equips our kids for the 21st century.
“Families will be standing alongside teachers.”
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The NUT said its main reason for calling industrial action was over what it termed the “worst cuts in funding since the 1970s”.
Des Barrow, 49 who has taught at Clapton Girls’ Academy for 18 years, urged education secretary Nicky Morgan to “resign now”.
“We’ve got a very high number of staff leaving – which means instability, it means the relationships that have been built up with children are destroyed, an increase in pupil numbers and cuts to extra-curricular activities.”
The NUT and the Institute of Fiscal Studies have forecast that schools will see an 8 per cent real terms cut to spending per pupil by 2020 due to the redistribution of funding set out in the new Education For All government bill.
It claims the cuts would lead to fewer creative subject choices for children, larger class sizes of about 35 pupils, fewer teachers and support staff, and a lack of pay progression for teachers.
Education secretary Nicky Morgan has disputed that schools will see a real terms cut, calling the strike “unnecessary and harmful”.
She argues that funding has never been higher, with education spending at £40billion.
But the NUT say that while national funding levels have been maintained, schools will see a real terms cut due to inflation, higher National Insurance costs and pensions contributions.
In addition to concerns about funding, excessive teachers’ workloads and pay were also highlighted as concerns.
In Hackney, the strike fully closed 34 schools, partly closed 19, while just 12 were open as normal.