Teachers from across 1066 country marched in Hastings today to send a clear message to the government on ‘avoidable and entirely political cuts’.
Striking NUT members met at the White Rock Hotel before marching into the town centre and leafletting the public.
Speakers at the rally included regional NUT officer Nick Childs and Hastings NUT president Jim Paynter, who also teaches at Torfield Special School.
They said there were two main reasons teachers were striking in their thousands across the country today.
The first was ‘a massive real term funding cut to education between now and 2020’ due to per pupil funding being frozen.
NUT members say this amounts to a 10 per cent real term cut by 2020 – the largest cut since the late 1970s according to the IFS.
The second was the ‘tearing up’ of national pay and conditions for all teachers in maintained schools as a result of school privatisation due to the forced move to academies.
“Teachers pay and conditions were agreed in 1919 following the slaughter on the battlefields of WW1,” said Nick.
“The vision then was a national set of pay and conditions for a respected profession worthy of them – the idea was to attract the brightest and the best to serve the nation’s children.
“Now we face these being torn up by a government obsessed with avoidable and entirely political cuts – a race to the bottom and the privatisation of education.
“The damage they are doing to our profession, its ability to retain and recruit the best and serve the children we care so passionately about is unquantifiable.”
Zara Daniel, a teacher at Rye College, said she was taking part in the strike to let the government know that until it started working with teachers as ‘respected professionals’ it would continue to fail to meet recruitment targets and people would continue to quit their jobs.
“Pretty soon we will be back to class sizes of 40-odd,” she said.
“How can that be fair for the children we care about so much?”
Another teacher from Rye College who did not want to be named said: “They can keep saying that we are the ones harming education, and God knows they will, but they are the ones that mess about with the curriculum every time they want to make a political point and do it with no regard for what experienced educators tell them ought to be happening.”
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