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Schools closed over NUT strike

Following failed talks with the DfE, NUT members to strike today over funding and contracts

Posted by Stephanie Broad | July 05, 2016 | People, policy, politics

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is to strike today, following a ballot which saw 91.7% of voters in favour of strike action (24.5% of members voted). Schools across the country are affected by the strike, which aims to increase funding to schools and education, guarantee terms and conditions in all types of schools, and to resume negotiations on teacher contracts to allow workload to be addressed. 

Kevin Courtney, Acting General Secretary of the NUT, said schools need extra funding urgently to cover increased National Insurance and pension payments, as well as a guarantee of good standards of teachers’ terms and conditions in academies.

“In light of the huge funding cuts to schools, worsening terms and conditions, and unmanageable and exhausting workloads, teachers cannot be expected to go on without significant change,” said Courtney.

“The effects on children’s education are also real and damaging. As a result of school funding cuts, class sizes in primary and secondary schools are increasing, subject choices are being cut, and children are getting less individual attention as teachers and support staff are made redundant or not replaced when they leave. There is worse to come, with the Institute of Fiscal Studies predicting that the biggest real terms cuts to per pupil funding in a generation are on the way.

“There is already a teacher recruitment and retention crisis in our schools. Without significant change to the pay and working condition of teachers, this will simply deepen.”  

Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, accused the NUT of ‘playing politics with children’s futures’ over pay and conditions. In a letter, she said: “Removing unnecessary workload for teachers is a priority for this government, and we have made this clear in our discussions. Our extensive work with you along with the wider profession, is helping to ensure that teachers can concentrate on what they do best. 

“To suggest we aren’t prioritising school funding is disingenuous. The significance we place on education is demonstrated by the fact that we are investing more than any previous government in our schools. This year the schools budget will total around £40bn, an increase of around £4 billion since 2011-12, so it is now the highest it has ever been.” 

Is your school affected by the strike? What do you think? Send your comments to the editor here.

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