NUT leader on strikes: 'What's more important than our children's future?'

'We want to make sure we've got the time, resources and training for teachers', says NUT London Regional Secretary

The NUT strike is about helping exhausted, overworked teachers, says a spokesperson

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Teachers are holding a 24 hour strike today as National Union of Teachers (NUT) stage a protest about funding. 

The NUT London Regional Secretary says teachers are "exhausted" and don't have enough "support".

The union is concerned over spending on schools, as an analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies claimed funding will fall by eight per cent in real terms by 2020. Many schools have been affected by the strike.

Martin Powell-Davies believes the strike is raising public awareness of the issue.

"Already it's putting the real news in the headlines," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. "Our schools face real cuts that are going to make real difficulties for children right across the country.

"The main issue is that the government has said they will fund per pupil, but they are freezing that fund, while the costs for schools go up.

"What is more important than investing in our children's futures? If we're serious about building a better society in a wealthy country like England, like Britain, then money is there. It's a question of whether it's going to be used."

Only around a quarter of teachers voted on the strike action, but of those who did, 91.7 per cent supported the action.

"If you're serious about wanting a bigger turnout, which we would be pleased to have, then don't use an outdated postal ballot, most people get junk mail in the post now, let us use workplace balloting, let's use the internet.

"The proof of the pudding is out there on the street, there are thousands of teachers marching because they feel really strongly that their children's futures matter."

It has been reported that the strike is over pay, but the trade unionist claims this is not the case.

"This is fundamentally a strike about cuts, and it's also about teacher shortages, in particular workload, when according to the government’s own figures teachers are working 50, 60 hours a week, sometimes more. It's not surprising people are leaving the profession.

"When people ask: 'are you getting a decent education?'  – if your teacher is that exhausted, if they're having to work up into the early hours getting work done, getting books marked and prepared, that's not good support.

"Teachers go into the job precisely because they want to support kids, they want kids to learn," he added. "We want to make sure we've got the time, and the resources and the training to do it."