Workers at an education and training centre in Bethnal Green joined thousands of teachers striking across the country this morning (Wednesday, February 1).

National Education Union (NEU) members at the Professional Development Centre formed a picket line outside their workplace.

The NEU has been pushing for a fully-funded above-inflation pay-rise for its members from the government.

East London Advertiser: Workers at the Professional Development Centre on Bethnal Green Road formed a picket line this morningWorkers at the Professional Development Centre on Bethnal Green Road formed a picket line this morning (Image: Tara Mewawalla)

So far, a deal has yet to be agreed, with a recent 5 per cent offer rejected by the union. 

READ MORETeachers strike across east London: The latest updates

Alison Wagner works in schools across Tower Hamlets supporting deaf and partially hearing children and young people.

She said: "It's all about funding... the issue with the last pay rise that we got in September, the 5pc pay rise - which actually wasn't a pay rise [but] a pay cut when you look at it in real terms - is it's not fully funded by the government so schools have had to take the pay cut out of their budgets.

"That's a big issue for children with SEND (special educational needs and disabilites), the most vulnerable in the mainstream sector.

"It's not just about what's in our pay cut... it's about delivery of education for children, especially with SEND."

East London Advertiser: The strikers handed out leaflets and stickers to passers byThe strikers handed out leaflets and stickers to passers by (Image: Tara Mewawalla)

In addition to today, strike dates affecting east London are planned for March 2, 15 and 16.

Judy Garwood, who also works with young people who are deaf or have partial hearing, mentioned teacher retention as another issue.

She continued: "We go into a lot of schools and we see the stress and crisis that's happening."

"We dont want to be on strike", Alison added. "We want a fully funded pay rise that reflects the cost-of-living crisis, that reflects the hike in inflation.

"Our union leaders would definitely like to settle. They don't want to be calling out thousands of schools across the country."

Education secretary Gillian Keegan has described the strikes as “hugely disappointing”.

She said: “With talks ongoing on a range of issues, including around future pay, workload, behaviour and recruitment and retention, it is clear that strikes are not being used as a last resort.

“I will continue doing everything possible to protect children’s education.”