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'Almost all' schools to close in Tower Hamlets for teachers' strike tomorrow

PUBLISHED: 12:44 25 March 2014 | UPDATED: 13:06 25 March 2014

Schools will close tomorrow for a national strike by teachers against changes to their pay and workload.

Schools will close tomorrow for a national strike by teachers against changes to their pay and workload.

It is expected that around 95 per cent of the borough’s schools will be closed or partly closed all day.

Teachers and supporters will meet at Langdon Park School in Bright Street, Poplar, around 8am before marching to central London for a demonstration at 11.30.

The strike is part of the NUT’s Stand Up for Education campaign against the policies of education secretary Michael Gove, which they say are forcing young teachers out of the profession.

Alex Kenny, secretary of Tower Hamlets NUT, said: “In Tower Hamlets almost every school has people out on strike.

“Michael Gove just isn’t listening to our concerns about the effects of his changes on pay and teacher workloads.

“More and more teachers are telling us they can’t sustain the workload at it’s current level.

“It’s the new curriculum and greater pressure on schools to meet targets.”

Mr Kenny said the government should trust teachers to do their jobs without having to waste time on bureaucracy.

He said: “The irony is Michael Gove came in and said he would free teachers up and unburden teachers, but teachers are now working 60 hours on average a week - up by 10 hours. And that’s ten extra hours not spent with their students but on paperwork and buerocracy.”

He added: “This strike is his fault. Teachers do not like taking strike action but they are prepared to lose pay to stand up for education.

“We do apologise for the inconvenience to parents but we hope they will support us.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “Parents will struggle to understand why the NUT is pressing ahead with strikes over the government’s measures to let heads pay good teachers more.

“They called for talks to avoid industrial action, we agreed to their request, and talks have been taking place weekly.

“Despite this constructive engagement with their concerns, the NUT is taking action that will disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.”

They added that Mr Gove has written to the teachers unions today to restate his commitment to the ongoing talks.

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