Teachers strike for more funding

TEACHERS belonging to the National Union of Teachers (NUT) throughout England last Tuesday took strike action in protest at the lack of funding for schools.

The strike was backed by a 91.7 per cent ballot in favour of the action at changes brought in by the Government’s new Education for All Act that will see class sizes grow.

It was also backed by many local marches and rallies in support of the teachers’ fight for more resources.

Kevin Courtney, NUT acting general secretary, said school budgets were not keeping pace with rising costs

“Most schools where action is being taken are affected by closures or reduced subjects,” he said. “Teachers do not take strike action lightly.” And he “wholeheartedly apologised” for disruption to parents.

“The problems facing education, however, are too great to be ignored and we know many parents share our concerns,” he added.

“Class sizes are going up. We are being told of schools where there will be classes of 35 in September. Art, dance and drama teachers are being made redundant or not being replaced when they leave; individual attention for children is going down.

“This is all happening because the Government is not allowing school budgets to keep pace with inflation. They are freezing the cash per pupil they give to schools.”

The NUT quoted an analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, which says that spending per pupil is expected to fall by about eight per cent in real terms by 2020.

Courtney said the union wanted to resolve the matter through talks but the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, “does not acknowledge the reality”.

The NUT issued a statement saying: “Enough is enough. The Government’s new Education for All Bill continues to show they have the wrong priorities for teachers, schools and children.

“As more schools become academies, the coverage of the national and STPCD (the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document), which is summarised in the Burgundy Book, will narrow and these protections will gradually wither away.

“Real term cuts in funding will have major effects on schools and teachers, whether academy or maintained. This will further erode terms and conditions, increase workload and impede pay progression for teachers.”

The NUT added: “There is no option of simply delaying action. Each school will see, on average, a cut of eight per cent in funding, so our strike action is vital to keep pressure on the government.

“We are calling on Nicky Morgan and George Osborne to commit to investing in education, not cutting it. In the meantime, please support our strike

“The NUT is asking the Government not to implement the real terms cuts that will affect ALL schools. Primary schools and small, or rural schools suffer disproportionately when funding is cut, and even academies will be hit hard.”