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Video: 50 schools in Suffolk and Esssex closed as teachers join national NUT strike

15:20 26 March 2014

Teachers go on strike

Teachers go on strike

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) staged a national one-day strike over pay, pensions and conditions today.

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The dispute centres around higher contributions to pensions, raising the retirement age, and what teachers say is an increasing level of bureaucracy and changes to the curriculum.

Suffolk County Council reported 16 local authority-run schools were shut and 59 partially closed due to the strike across the county.

The figure does not include free schools.

Around 100 protesters gathered at the Giles Statue in Ipswich town centre for a rally and speeches, including by some parents, before marching through the town centre.

Andrew Rowe, vice-president of the Ipswich Association of the NUT, said: “This part of our union’s campaign Standing Up for Education which covers a lot of issues, not just pay and pensions but also the incessant changes coming out of government these days.”

Addressing criticism from some as to why the strike was not held during school holidays or on a teaching training day, Mr Howe said the event helped raise the profile of the union dispute.

Janet Shanks, a teacher at the rally, added: “The central belief is this is for the good of our pupils - we would not here if it was not for them.

“We want a better future for them, and some parents are very supportive of that aim.”

The strike prompted anger from some parents and politicians.

Lisa Chambers, county councillor for education, said: “Suffolk County Council is committed to ensuring the best possible education for the children of Suffolk and one school closed is one too many when you’re working to improve educational attainment.

“On this occasion the majority of schools across Suffolk remained open and I’d like to thank headteachers and staff who prioritised the children in this argument.

“It’s important now both sides get round the negotiating table on a national level and resolve this dispute.”

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6 comments

  • Well said Ipswich Resident but unfortunately your comments will fall on deaf ears; ie. those people who believe we should never go back to a time when the unions 'held the country to ransom' because life is so much better now that that the City of London, the bankers and the Tories are doing it. Apparently people would much rather have no protection for employees and their jobs, working conditions, wages, pensions, and that of their children. No, we'll all go cap in hand to the rich in our society for a handout but unfortunately you'll find that they are too busy making money out of money and anyone else is just a cost on a balance sheet there to be rationalised out of existence. It never ceases to amaze me how the British love to doff their hat at a rich person while they are being robbed blind at the very same time by the very same rich person. But it's okay because "That's what it's like in the real world". On the contrary, that's what it's like in the world of the Tories, and why? Because each and every one of them can afford to be wrong.... they have absolutely no personal investment in getting it right. No-one is going to take away their job,their home, their savings, or their dignity. They will always be able to afford something better because they make the rules.

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    skrich

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • The most telling aspect of this whole situation is that he NUT were the ONLY union striking yesterday. All the others are happy to talk. The government, perfectly sensibly, wants to talk to all the unions together and arrive at an agreement for all. The NUT (like many teachers) think they are a special case. They're not. If striking teachers think they have public support for their cause they need to wake up. It's quite the opposite actually.

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    Big Daddy

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • How quickly some Unions discredit themselves and one of the last stands of old dinosaur mentality. Poor performance means warnings and dismissals elsewhere, it seems some Teachers see this as a requirement - and then use kids education to demand more. No wonder the kids are running around laughing today, they have no respect for anyone now.

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    Disbeliever

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • The public aren't interested in education, even if the government were completely messing it up, by changing grade boundaries, slashing school budgets and privatising schools through the back door nobody would pay the blindest bit of notice.... Oh wait that has already happened. Let's just all roll over and plod along shall we? Heaven forbid teachers do anything dramatic to try and get their point across or anything, those lazy good for nothings. The government just fobs teachers off for months on end and then when a strike happens they say 'we're disappointed that strikes are going ahead, it damages student's education and the perception of the teaching profession'. If the education secretary was any good at his job and didn't hide away from teachers then there wouldn't be strikes - funny how teachers get the bad name when they are the ones being provoked and ignored. Keep up with the short-sighted opinions though, a day's childcare is far more important than whether you kid gets half decent qualifications when they go into the world of work.

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    IpswichResident

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Oh and with regards to performance related pay, it's just another way to cut costs. There's nothing left in the pot to pay for computers, or renovate parts of the school that are in dire need of it, so effective pay freezes will help keep a lid on costs. How is the performance related pay even measured? Is it based on A*-C results? What about if you have a class with all D-G students where they are set based on ability? Would it be based on how close you came to their targets? What is the targets aren't accurate? What if the education secretary tells the qualification board to 'modify' grade boundaries again? Should it be based on whether lessons are taught at an outstanding, or good level? What about when kids need emotional support, do you get paid £5 per crying child that you comfort? It's like making a vicar work on performance related pay, it's an altruistic calling, rather than a bunch of factory workers on a production line. Research has showed that applying the model to education doesn't work. If people wanted to earn good money they would have gone and worked in the city earning decent money rather than teaching - Michael Gove is preaching to the wrong crowd. Square shapes don't fit into star shaped holes, no matter how much rejigging you do. I doubt anyone will understand or care about anything I've written because they are too busy being annoyed at teachers. Let's just carry on calling them lazy and greedy, that's worked great for the last few years and I'm sure will carry on. Ignorance is bliss and all that.

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    IpswichResident

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • I must say what a wonderful job some of our Suffolk teachers are doing like the ones at castle hill who have seen the school put on special measures poor results for a lot of other schools also,then they have the nerve to go on strike telling us what a great job they are doing how hard they work and what extra hours they work unpaid ,on results from some school a wage cut would be about right as this is what happens in the real world

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    pandy

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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