Teachers plan strike over deadlock with Michael Gove on pay and workloads

Schools across east London will be hit by a one-day strike by teachers next week.

The classroom disruption will affect schools in Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Newham and Barking & Dagenham, as well as the rest of London and the South East, as teachers plan to march to Downing Street.

The action next Thursday by the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters & Union of Women Teachers is expected to close the vast majority of schools.

The unions are in dispute with Education Secretary Michael Gove over planned changes to teachers’ pay and contracts, working conditions and pensions.

Union officials in east London have accused the Secretary of State of refusing to listen to their concerns.

“We are the people working every day for the children we teach and we know what works,” said Tower Hamlets NUT Secretary Alex Kenny.

“But Michael Gove has angered the entire profession with his constant criticism and changes and his absolute refusal to listen to teachers.

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“We don’t like taking strike action—but if he won’t listen, we have no choice.”

Union members march down Whitehall next Thursday, past Downing Street, to a protest rally at Westminster’s Emmanuel Centre. They assemble at Malet Street at 10.30am.

Teachers at Barking Abbey School have been leafleting outside parent information evenings since the start of term to explain why they are striking, accusing the government of putting children’s education and future “at risk.” They have collected hundreds of signatures from parents supporting them.

The NUT’s General Secretary, Christine Blower, said: “Striking is never a step teachers take lightly and we are aware about the inconvenience it causes parents. But we are faced with a government that is refusing to listen.”

The proposed changes will make teaching a far less attractive profession, the unions maintain, which “would not be in the interests of teachers and children”.

Thursday’s strike follows the one-day action at the beginning of the month in the Midlands and the North. Plans are also ready for a national strike before the end of the school term if the deadlock with the government isn’t resolved.