Teachers gear up for Tuesday’s strike

Teachers will go on strike on Tuesday.
Teachers will go on strike on Tuesday.
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Classrooms across Kirklees could be disrupted as teachers go on strike.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASWUT) have planned industrial action in Yorkshire and Humberside, east England and the Midlands on Tuesday as part of their campaign to ‘protect teachers and defend education’.

Strikes are also planned in the north east of England, London and the south of England on October 17.

Chris Head, North Yorkshire county secretary for the NASWUT, said the changes made by education secretary Michael Gove were devastating.

He said: “The privatisation that academy conversion is creating – which has already failed in Sweden and the USA – is moving us back before 1870, the examination changes back to the 1950’s and the changes to the salary scheme will devastate the staffroom.”

He said teachers had been raising concerns since December 2011 but Mr Gove refused to enter into a meaningful discussion.

The strikes will protest against job cuts due to budget cuts and curriculum changes, the increase in workload and paperwork and cuts to support for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities.

The unions claim Mr Gove has not responded to requests for a meeting.

In Wales, planned strikes have been cancelled after Welsh education secretary Huw Lewis agreed to talks.

Howard Roberts, general secretary at Kirklees Teachers’ Association (NUT) said: “In Wales the action has stopped because they were willing to talk about it seriously.

“We don’t understand why he won’t have serious negotiations with us - we don’t want to do this, despite the way some people portray us.

“There is now too much piling up, and he has to speak to us soon, but the government is refusing to talk to us.”

During a recent visit to Castle Hall Academy in Mirfield, Michael Gove said unions should call off the strikes.

He said: “I met with the unions many times, and I am always ready to talk.

“The strikes set a poor example to children as it suggests adults are more interested in their own interest than the children’s.

“They should not think they are going to change a thing about policy.”

A spokeswoman for Kirklees Council said any school closures due to the strikes on Tuesday will be announced on the council website and across the Reporter Series websites.