Strike action could hit schools over academies plan

Strike action could hit schools this summer after the National Union of Teachers vowed to fight government changes to the education system.

Tuesday, 5th April 2016, 2:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th April 2016, 2:51 pm

The NUT will hold a ballot for industrial action after rejecting a move to make all schools opt out of local authority control and become academies.

Academies are state funded schools which are run outside of local council influence with greater freedom over pay, conditions and what they teach.

They can be run as stand alone academies or as part of academy chains.

NUT executive member Ian Murch told the union’s annual conference in Brighton, that the measures would see “schools stolen from their local communities”.

However, the Department for Education has accused the NUT of playing politics with children’s futures.

Members voted against the government’s education White Paper, and also agreed an amendment to ballot for strike action.

This is likely to include proposals for a one-day strike in the summer, as well as potential for further strikes, should members agree.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “We make no apology for our reforms, which have resulted in a record number of children now being taught in good or outstanding schools – 1.4 million more than in 2010.”

During the conference NUT members also agreed to consider industrial action over pressures driven by increasing student numbers, a growing teacher shortage, and reduced funding for schools.

Laura Fisher, a teacher from Wakefield, said the situation was so bad that pupils have asked her if she sleeps in work because of the amount of time she spends in the classroom.

She said: “I know striking is a difficult subject, it is still the biggest debate within ourselves.

“But every day I strike, I am teaching children the biggest lesson of all – that their education is worth fighting for,” she added.