Teachers take to the streets as strike affects 80 schools in Tower Hamlets
PUBLISHED: 15:10 17 October 2013 | UPDATED: 15:10 17 October 2013
A nationwide strike by teachers closed schools across Tower Hamlets today as thousands marched to picket the Prime Minister over changes to teachers’ pay and working conditions.
Tower Hamlets Council said 80 schools in Tower Hamlets were affected by the strike, with 42 closed, 38 partially closed and ten remaining open.
A council spokesperson said: “We are working with schools to minimise the disruption and have advised parents to contact their schools directly for the latest information.”
Demonstrators met in Malet Street near Euston at 10.30 this morning (October 17) before setting off for Downing Street in Westminster.
The unions are in dispute with education secretary Michael Gove over planned changes to teachers’ pay and contracts, working conditions and pensions.
At the march people chanted, “Go, Gove, go!”, referring to education secretary Michael Gove, whose teaching reforms the strikers oppose.
Before the march, Alex Kenny, secretary of Tower Hamlets National Union of Teachers, said: “We are the people working every day for the children we teach and we know what works.
“But Michael Gove has angered the entire profession with his constant criticism and changes and his absolute refusal to listen to teachers.
“We don’t like taking strike action - but if he won’t listen, we have no choice.”
“We all know there is a symbiotic relationship between teaching and learning. Defending our conditions of service and pay is an important contribution to the life chances of the pupils you teach.”
The NUT and the National Association of Schoolmasters & Union of Women Teachers accuse the secretary of state of refusing to listen to their concerns.
A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are striking over the government’s measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more.
“All strikes will do is disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.
They added: “We have met frequently with the NUT and NASUWT to discuss their concerns and will continue to do so.”
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