This article was kindly supplied by Bianca Barratt
Thousands of teachers and education professionals marched on Westminster today in a show of solidarity against education secretary Nicky Morgan and her plans to cut funding in schools.
As part of a national 24 hour strike organised by the largest UK teachers’ union, NUT, crowds gathered outside Broadcasting House on Regent Street to begin the protest at 12pm, with as many as 50% of state schools being affected by the strike.
In scenes similar to those seen during the junior doctors’ strike and the ‘Remain in the EU’ demonstrations recently, a hugely diverse group of people came together in dispute against the Conservative Party and their recently published White Paper.
Cries of ‘no ifs, no buts, no education cuts’ could be heard in the streets of Central London as teachers, head teachers, retirees and students spoke out against the cuts that will affect teaching and learning as well as pay and conditions in schools.
Rahima, a key stage two teacher from East London was there with her six year old son, Binyamin, to show her support:
‘I’ve been a teacher for 12 years now and we can’t do the things we want to do- there’s just no money’ she said.
‘At the classroom level we can really see how much impact these decisions are having on our children’.
A secondary teacher, Teresa, from North London explained the impact the cuts are having on the working conditions in schools:
‘It leads to so much pressure on teachers as schools are understaffed and workloads are huge. I feel that if we don’t do something now it’s just going to get worse which could lead to me deciding to leave the profession’.
It seems that many teachers share these views as The Guardian stated recently that ‘nearly half of England’s teachers plan to leave in the next five years’.
With this in mind an NUT rep for Lewisham, Oliver, explained why it was so important that schools and teaching professionals supported the strike:
‘The rights we were granted were hard won by previous generations of teachers. They are a mark of our professional status. If the government remove them and we don’t protest, we are saying they are not worth fighting for.’
‘We must defend education.’
In reaction to the strike today Nicky Morgan argued that it was ‘unnecessary’ and was ‘damaging [to the] reputation of the profession’.
The NUT and teachers across the country now await the government’s response.