A UTTOXETER parent and councillor has spoken out in support of the teacher strikes, as union leaders warn there could be further strike action unless Government ministers agree to negotiate.
The teachers unions behind the regional strike action - the NASUWT and the NUT - are planning a national day of action unless the Education Secretary Michael Gove agrees to listen to the concerns of the teachers.
This comes after the three middle schools and Thomas Alleyne’s High School were forced to shut down for the day on October 1, due to a lack of teaching staff.
Key issues include the introduction of a new system of performance-related pay.
Unions claim these plans will tear up national pay agreements and leave teachers working in the same town earning different salaries.
But the Government has insisted the changes will reward good teachers with better pay.
NUT general secretary Christine Blower said teachers could not “stand by and watch our profession be systematically attacked and undermined”.
“Strike action is never a step that teachers take lightly and we are very concerned about the inconvenience it causes parents.”
James Russell, a Uttoxeter parent of three and Labour councillor said: “As a parent and concerned member of our community I wholly support the unfortunate strike action that our teachers have had to take.
“The strike ran under the banner of protecting teachers, supporting education and it is very important to realise that it is education and the provision of high quality education which motivates our teachers to go to work.
“They believe, and I agree that the future education of our children is under threat.
“With budgets being placed under increasing strain even at a time when we were promised that education spending was to be protected, cracks will soon begin to show in the amount of high quality of provision our schools are able to offer.
“This matters to be as a parent of three daughters just embarking on their educational life.
“My comprehensive school in the 1990’s offered me all the life chances I needed to have the opportunities I grasped of higher education, vocational training and a secure career.
“With pressure on school places likely to rise and budgets constricting I fear how this may compare to the educational offering delivered to Ella, Heidi and Libby.
“This governments new and highly prescriptive curriculum will kick in next year with no support in terms of time or budget to prepare and deliver the new teaching.
“This puts our teachers under even more pressure and I support them in saying to Mr Gove that enough is enough.
“His plans are bad for children, bad for teachers and bad for education.”
Kirsty Price, the NASUWT’s national executive member for Staffordshire, claimed there had been ‘overwhelming support’ from members.
She said: “The action was in defence of pay, pensions and working conditions that have allowed us to produce the quality of education that we’ve got in this country.”
Cherry Allen, via Facebook said: “Are the schools going to pay us £60 for the unauthorised absences?”
Liz Howe, via Facebook said: “It was a nightmare.”
Kate Litchfield-Lloyd, via Facebook said: “I have a great friend who helped me out.
“I had one child off school and one in, and I had to go into work.
“No more strikes please.”