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Striking teachers say ‘we have had enough’
TEACHERS from across York, North and East Yorkshire took part in a day of strike action which closed and partially closed dozens of schools yesterday.
Dozens of teachers from city schools joined their colleagues from North and East Yorkshire on a regional rally in Sheffield as part of a strike over pay, pensions and changes in education.
Nationally more than 1,400 schools closed their doors or ran limited timetables yesterday as the two largest teaching unions, the NUT and NASUWT joined forces to strike with much criticism levelled at the current Education Secretary, Michael Gove.
Union officials said the strike was a last resort after two years of “attacks” on their profession by Mr Gove.
Andy Sutton, NASUWT official for York, said more than 30 teachers got on a bus at Memorial Gardens in Leeman Road at about 9am before heading to the city’s designer outlet to pick up another contingent.
He said: “Taking strike action is an absolute last resort for teachers, but we have reached a stage now where we have tried everything else and the secretary of state isn’t listening to us. There’s an incredible amount of change happening in the profession just now and he isn’t taking teachers with him.
“I don’t know what the rationale is behind his thinking, but morale in the profession couldn’t be lower.
“Mr Gove says he’s not taking notice of whatever we do, but I think the action was about showing him we are not happy with the way things are going and we have had enough.”
Nick Raine, Yorkshire regional officer for the NUT, said the strike was not just about teachers’ pay and pensions.
He said: “There have been a lot of attacks on teachers and education in the last couple of years from Michael Gove and the Government, but Mr Gove has been utterly unwilling to consult with anybody from within education.”
A Department for Education spokesman said: “Industrial action disrupts pupils’ education, hugely inconveniences parents and damage the profession’s reputation in the eyes of the public at a time when our reforms are driving up standards across the country.”
A further regional strike is planned in London, the north-east, south-east and south-west on October 17. Plans for a national one-day walkout before Christmas have also been announced by both unions.