On October 1st teachers across England took to the streets to say ‘enough is enough’.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (Nasuwt) have taken controversial strike action against injustices they feel have befallen them.
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The Secretary of Education, Michael Gove, has been accused of imposing heavy workloads at reduced pay. In addition, pension changes and poorer working conditions have raised alarms bells for teaching professionals across England.
The unions have said that these moves are an affront to the structure of the national payment systems. These changes are also claimed to be the cause for poorer education systems due to the fact that recruiting and retaining good school teachers.
The strike that took place on the 1st of October is the second of three planned demonstrations. While members of the unions understand the inconvenience they are causing parents, they feel that they must take action.
Close to 50 different authorities have been affected which equates to an estimated 2,500 schools. This has been an increase of involved parties from the previous strike which came at the cost of 1,214 schools in 22 authorities.
The third strike is planned for the 17th of this month and it is still unclear how many different areas and schools will be affected.
The schools that were not closed down entirely faced a shortage of staff and therefore meant that they were unable to accommodate all years. Nearly 6,500 students were unable to attend classes as their schools were completely closed down but estimates suggest that 10,000 is an accurate number for the total amount of students who were unable to attend school due to the strikes.
Governmental and Parental Response
The Department for Education does not seem to be sympathetic to the plight of the school teachers.
There has been accusations towards the unions of attempting to derail positive efforts by the government to improve the education system in the nation. Implications that many teachers are scorned due to the change in pay scale have also been made. As of September teachers may only receive an increase of salary if certain standards are met. The Department for Education say that this is being done to improve the standards of education countrywide.
As for the parents, the responses have been mixed. However according to a poll taken by the Department for Education, “In a recent poll, 61% of respondents supported linking teachers’ pay to performance and 70% either opposed the strikes or believed that teachers should not be allowed to strike at all.”
Though many feel that it every employee’s right to vote, but in this situation a strike affects many people are the employee due to the nature of their work.
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