On July 5, at a tremendously successful march and rally in Nottingham, hundreds of teachers turned out to show their determination not to accept further education cuts which will damage children’s education, and also not to accept the scrapping of national terms and conditions
Teachers from the city and the county listened to speeches from NUT reps, the UCU lecturers union (who were on strike with us), parents and others, about the need to defend education from projected cuts of 13% by 2020.
At a time when pupil numbers are rising, to be making such cuts is entirely irresponsible and the government should instead be increasing investment in our education service.
This strike is part of a campaign of action, hopefully with other trade unionists - such as the Junior Doctors who have rejected the Government’s imposed contract - to defend state education and those who work in it.
Speaking at the rally (see video above) our National Executive member, Rob Illingworth, spoke about the attack on the curriculum and the provision for students with special educational needs. He said, “we need to maintain an education system that is suitable for the abilities, the needs and the aspirations of the students we teach on a day to day basis.”
Rob went on to praise the experienced teachers who had helped him to become a better teacher, but he condemned government policies that are driving many older teachers out of the profession just to save money. He finished by calling for a world class education system under democratic local control, valuing all staff and students in schools.
Sheena Wheatley, Secretary of Nottingham City NUT, gave messages of support from other unions and had some clear advice for the Minister Education, Nicky Morgan. She questioned why Nicky Morgan was busying herself trying to get Michael Gove elected to the Tory leadership when she should be seeking negotiations with the NUT. Sheena drew attention to the highest recorded number of teachers leaving the profession which she, quite rightly, described as “a disgrace”.
Hazel Allister of Notts Unison talked of the need to ensure teachers and teaching assistants are supported so that students are able to learn through play, and not just failed through government imposed tests. She said that it was important to support Jeremy Corbyn who supported our schools and the staff who work in them. She wished the strikers well and said that “all unions should stand up for education like the NUT.”
Support from the public was greater than on many previous demonstrations with cars hooting and drivers taking NUT flags from marchers all the way down Mansfield Road, from the Forest Recreation Ground to the City Centre.
After the rally Nottinghamshire NUT held a meeting with lunch at a local Indian restaurant with about 40 attending. We will be taking this discussion further when we meet as a Division on July 14. Please join us at the meeting and help plan our campaign into the Autumn Term.
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