Strike closed dozens of schools - and union warns there could be more strikes to come

Teachers' meeting outside the Forum in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith Teachers' meeting outside the Forum in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Thursday, March 27, 2014
7:00 AM

Hundreds of pupils had a day off school yesterday when dozens of schools across our region fully or partially closed because of a strike by the NUT teachers’ union.

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Teachers' meeting outside the Forum in Norwich. Photo: Bill SmithTeachers' meeting outside the Forum in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

About 200 flag waving and whistle blowing teachers, parents and supporters chanted “Hey ho, Michael Gove has got to go” at a rally outside The Forum in Norwich.

They heard speeches as NUT members took industrial action in their dispute with the government about pay, pensions and conditions.

At least 77 schools in Norfolk were fully or partially closed, although many ensured Year 11 students could study in the run-up to their GCSEs.

A total of 13 Suffolk schools closed, while 59 only opened partially.

Union says there could be more strikes to come

Schools face the prospect of further strikes after a teaching union warned it will stage more walkouts if progress is not made in a bitter dispute with the government.

The NUT said yesterday’s strike was a “clear demonstration” that teachers were tired of the pressure the government is putting them under.

The Department for Education, which condemned the walkout, said there was a low level of support for the strike, with around 12pc of schools in England forced to fully close. NUT general secretary Christine Blower warned more strikes could be called if there is no movement in talks between the government and unions.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “While the impact in many schools has been negligible, it has disrupted parents’ lives, held back children’s education and damaged the reputation of the profession.”

There were indications that relations between the NUT and fellow teaching union the NASUWT – which together have been running a joint campaign of industrial action – have become strained.

Both took part in regional strikes in the autumn, but the NASUWT did not join yesterday’s strike.

A leaked memo signed by NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates claims some members faced threats, insults and intimidation from members of the NUT.

Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for education, skills and young people, said the dispute was a national one and children in Suffolk should not be dragged into it.

She said: “Many people will ask how teachers can justify going on strike over pay and workload concerns at the same time as wanting to improve educational attainment.

“On the relatively rare occasions that teachers go on strike, we support heads and encourage them to plan ahead and aim to keep schools open wherever possible. We know that many teachers won’t actually want to strike and will work with heads to keep their schools running.”

In a poll on our website, the more than 600 people who voted were almost evenly divided on the merits of the strike, with 53pc opposed and 46pc in favour.

The issue also provoked strong debate in the comments section of our website.

Harry Rabinowitz said: “Teaching is a highly stressful job bedevilled by constant government interference, many teachers do not live long after retirement if they get that far because they are completely burnt out! Those who are under the impression that it is a cushy option have never experienced it!”

Blister said: “Wish I had their very generous pension that is actually paid for by much lower paid people in the private sector. It is one of the many financial benefits for what is basically a part time job.”

Pipps said: “I strike because I am worried about the education system as a teacher and a mother.”

Andy Bygrave said: “Crazy strike greedy teachers. Yes they may have to work what I would regard as normal hours (which they find unnaceptable) but they get 13 weeks leave a year.”

Were teachers right to strike? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

26 comments

  • Done worry this ISN'T the view of most people just those who are pig ignorant and who don't have children and don't go into school and have absolutely no idea what happens there, but like to spout their 'real world' rubbish.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Friday, March 28, 2014

  • One rule for children another for teachers.the parents are fined if they take children out of school in term time but the teachers can just shut schools at the drop of a hat. They should think how long Nurses work, and the sort of job they do with small wages and long hours. Shame on them Shame on the teachers. They fine parents if they take children out of school yet they can come out on strike at a drop of a hat.They should think about the nurses, they work long hours, nights and they don't get six weeks off in summer. that's who deserve rises in their pay

    Report this comment

    Maureen Hewitt

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • Disgusting. They should all be ashamed of themselves. They crow on about how important a child's education is, then, when it suits, close down schools to feather their own nests. The have a great job, managing a six hour day for just over half a year and still they complain!

    Report this comment

    IT Man

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • As a teacher who has already worked 50 hours this week, I find assumptions that we lazily deliver googled lessons and go home at 3 to put our feet up both insulting and preposterous. These damaging and utterly unfounded comments are the reason the profession is so demoralised. I am saddened that these ideas are still circulated unchecked and fear for the future of education, who would want to be a teacher? Work your fingers to the bone to help young people grow and learn, then still be told you're worthless and lazy.

    Report this comment

    happilyeverafter

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • I would be pleased to hear about "V"s real world which he often spouts about on here. Perhaps he will enlighten us and tell us what his real world is. Brushing educational chips off his shoulders would be part of it I imagine. Keep taking the tablets !

    Report this comment

    Responsible parent

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • So pleased my children went to school when teachers taught and the authorities realised that taking them out of school for a family holiday wasn't a crime to be fined for.Sadly times have changed as have the pension policies by a lot of major companies, including the one I work for, but of course the NUT can't seem to grasp this fact and think they can have have exactly what they want like a load of selfish kids. Hopefully the government will show them that this time they are the ones who will have to do as they are told or it will be them in detention.

    Report this comment

    "Bin here all me life"

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • Watched the NUT leader on tv last night explaining how changes have made teaching harder etc, is it the case that our children were excelling in the classroom before the change of government, and they want to drive up standards, why did they not do this under the previous government. Unions should be run by people not affiliated to any party, then they will fight for the right reasons, not politics. There are some excellent teachers, who are being undermined by these left wing politicians. Give good teachers a voice and the bad teachers their P45. Good teachers deserve all the credit, and these changes are being brought in because of the poor quality of teaching of some of their colleagues, and poor leadership in the past.

    Report this comment

    Kc1

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • Perhaps Rabinowitz should get a job in the real world.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • Here we go again. NUT supporters (or are they members I wonder?) who are unable to read, nor count. The article states that 46% voted in support (not 48%), with 53% against. That's a majority of 7% against. Also they claim that 90% voted for their strike, but as only 40% bothered to turn up to vote, that means that only just over a third of them supported the strike in the first place, so how they could justify calling a strike on that basis only Arthur Scargill could explain! Get back to work you lot, find a more relevant way of making your points, negotiate like adults, not the children that you claim to teach, and stop disrupting the lives of thousands of your pupils and their parents in such an outdated manner. Earn yourselves some respect -right now your behaviour doesn't warrant any.

    Report this comment

    Honest Injun

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • You would think that by now the NUT would have realised that the general public has no sympathy with their cause and that this pointless strike action is counterproductive. Perhaps if the ringleaders were sacked, the rest would buck up their ideas and realise how good their pay, holiday allowance and pension actually is!

    Report this comment

    Voice of Reason

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • Teachers are very well paid compared to most people and receive extremely generous pensions that are paid for by many workers less well paid in the private sector. Best paid part time job in the country

    Report this comment

    blister

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • The N.U.T. another Leftwing Union being drawn screaming into the 21st Century,there are other teaching unions who don,t strike

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • If you're going to make comments like that Larson E W, I suggest that you check your facts first. Such detail can easily be accessed via Google amongst other search engines. In the Surrey Heath constituency in 2010 there was a 70% turnout, Michael Gove achieved a 57.6% majority which was more than double that of the Lib Dem who came second and more than 5 times that of the 3rd placed Labour candidate. A turnout of 70% is significantly different to the miserable 40% achieved nationally by the NUT, who then ploughed ahead with their strike in spite of the fact that 10% of those who voted said "no" and the other 60% of their members didn't even bother to vote at all. Additionally, democratically held parliamentary elections comprising numerous candidates (in the case of Surrey Heath there were 4 in 2010) cannot in any way be realistically compared to trade union yesno votes. That's like comparing (teacher's) chalk to cheese.

    Report this comment

    Honest Injun

    Friday, March 28, 2014

  • Well said kc1,.

    Report this comment

    Reader

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • Funny to quote Scargill, who I couldn't stand, but history proved his 70 mine closures claim was in fact The National Coal Board's target despite huge protestations from the NCB and the Government at the time that he was talking rubbish! Perhaps teachers may well have a point that the DfE ripping up their agreed contracts and claiming their pension pot hasn't been funded will also prove to be wrong when we have access to the facts in 30 yrs' time.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • Have u got it yet V or r u really too damaged (or thick) to see how you destroy your own comments with your ignorant, Vile rantings.......oh dear, own goals methinks lol!!

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • Another day , another outing for trolls.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • V you really are an ignorant fool. Firstly who uploads the lessons to the web? TEACHERS who have spent hours planning them and are helping other teachers. Have you never worked in a team? Supported another colleague? Secondly if it was a simple to teach as downloading from the web, we should sack all mechanics because car schematics are available from the library, do away with all restaurants because Delia's books will do nicely, ditch doctors and nurses because we have Wikipedia and who needs competent pilots when you can download a flight simulator?

    Report this comment

    Dan

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • Vicious. Vile. Vacuous.....poor old damaged V ....get help. Incidentally 48% people polled on the EDP website supported the strike, which doesn't support the comment that "nobody supports the teachers" but who cares about fact as most teacher hating trolls demonstrate so aptly here!!

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • "...Michael Gove achieved a 57.6% majority ...". No he didn't......he got around 40% of the the vote of the electorate.....so 60% gave him the bum's rush .

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Saturday, March 29, 2014

  • To clarify for those misinformed souls who say 'teachers don't let students take term-time holidays' - this is a government policy that schools are legally bound to enforce, nothing to do with teachers. Teachers also do not like going on strike but are forced to as a last resort by a government that will not engage or listen.

    Report this comment

    happilyeverafter

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • Is that the best trolling you can manage? My 7yo understands the issues better than most of the commenters here! Going on strike is not a selfish action - teachers were sacrificing a day's pay in an attempt to save our children's education. And it's not all about pay - that's part of the grievance, but most strikingly because their workload has shot up in the last few years while pay has fallen dramatically in real terms. One or the other could be justified, but not both at the same time. Good, experienced teachers are burning out under the pressure of 60-hour weeks. Newly qualified teachers are quitting at a frightening rate. They're being judged on their adherence to dogmatic and evidence-free ideas of how to teach, with no room for flexibility or individual style. Schools are being handed over to remote businesses who take a hefty cut and balance the budget by employing unqualified teachers. Ofsted is being used as a political tool to force schools into the arms of Gove's academy agenda. And Gove's only response is to send civil servants to talks with the unions, so that they can parrot his official position. This is about the future of education in this country, for many generations to come. I fully support the NUT, and hope the other teaching unions will soon join them.

    Report this comment

    djw

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • As a teacher who has already worked 50 hours this week, I find assumptions that we lazily deliver googled lessons and go home at 3 to put our feet up both insulting and preposterous. These damaging and utterly unfounded comments are the reason the profession is so demoralised. I am saddened that these ideas are still circulated unchecked and fear for the future of education, who would want to be a teacher? Work your fingers to the bone to help young people grow and learn, then still be told you're worthless and lazy.

    Report this comment

    happilyeverafter

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • "....but as only 40% bothered to turn up to vote, that means that only just over a third of them supported the strike in the first place...." . Which is just about the % of the electorate who bothered to vote for Gove in his Surrey Heath constituency. According to your logic , this means he has no right to be an MP.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • If it is all so stressful, perhaps Harry Rabinowitz should retire now and see just how easy it is in the real world.

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • The Department for Education needs to take these left wing idiots in to hand and remove them, they are always moaning that they are hard done by if thats the case get another job.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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