School disrupted as teachers strike

Members of teachers' unions attend rally in Hastings
Members of teachers' unions attend rally in Hastings

TEN of the town’s schools were closed or partly closed for the day as teachers across East Sussex went on strike over pay and conditions.

Lessons were disrupted at Elphinstone, Little Ridge, West St Leonards, Castledown, All Saints, Silverdale, Saxon Mount, Churchwood, Hollington, and The St Leonards Academy yesterday (Thursday).

Hundreds of children were out of school for the day as a result, and working parents forced to find alternative childcare.

Members of the NUT and NASUWT teaching unions which collectively represent more than 90 per cent of teachers, were on strike across London, Cumbria, the South East, North East and South West, part of a national programme of regional action.

There were also marches and rallies locally in Brighton and Eastbourne, and in Hastings, beginning outside the White Rock Theatre.

Phil Clarke, secretary of Lewes, Eastbourne and Wealden NUT, said: “Our members are responding in great number to the strike call.

“Strike action is a last resort for teachers but anger at school closures must be directed at the Government.

“Without genuine negotiations Michael Gove has introduced divisive pay systems that set teacher against teacher, torn up pensions so teachers will be in the classroom to 68, and is now planning to remove our right to proper planning time, limits on workload and even our hard fought for right to a lunch break.

“We have been left with no choice except industrial action if we are to defend teacher professionalism and educational standards.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “No teacher has any wish to inconvenience parents or disrupt pupils’ education, but this action is not the failure or due to the unreasonableness of teachers.

“It is the failure and unreasonableness of the Secretary of State, who day in day out is disrupting the education of children and young people through his attacks on the teaching profession.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “While we understand teachers have concerns over pay and pensions, we are disappointed the unions have decided to resort to industrial action.

“The education of our children should be an absolute priority and nothing should disrupt that.

“We would urge the unions to seek other ways of resolving these issues.”

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