More than half East End schools shut over strike

More than half the schools in Tower Hamlets were closed yesterday with another quarter part closed as as teachers took to the streets to protest over pension changes.

Hundreds of union members joined the 20,000-strong demonstration in central London, while protests also took place outside Tower Hamlets College in Poplar High Street.

The National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers called the strike over changes which will result in teachers paying more into their pension pots and working for longer.

Working parents across the East End were forced to take a day off as 52 of the borough’s 96 schools shut completely with a further 28 only being able to hold some classes.

Just 16 schools, or 17 per cent, were able to remain open.

Alex Kenny, NUT secretary for east London, said: “The strike will have put huge pressure on the government as it shows the strength of opposition to their planned changes to our pensions. We are confident that almost every school was affected.

“In the run up to the strike, government ministers had to admit that the figures there were using were wrong and misleading.”

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Some 95 per cent of members voted in favour of striking in the NUT ballot.

The union said further strike action could be launched in the autumn if the government stands by their plans.

Teachers will pay 50 per cent more into their pension schemes, with anyone aged 34 or under having to work to 68, the unions say.

Education secretary Michael Gove called the strikes “disappointing and unnecessary” as talks were on-going.

He added: “I am disappointed that there has been disruption to the lives of so many parents across the country.”