Schools in Newham to close for teachers strike

Schools across the borough will be hit by a one-day strike as teachers march against government changes to their pay and working conditions.

The strike will see most of the schools in Newham close tomorrow as teachers march from east London to Downing Street.

The unions are in dispute with education secretary Michael Gove over planned changes to teachers’ pay and contracts, working conditions and pensions.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Schoolmasters & Union of Women Teachers accuse the secretary of state of refusing to listen to their concerns.

Parents are advised to contact their children’s school to see how the strike on Thursday 17 will affect them.

Peter Smith, divisional secretary of Newham NUT, said: “Both the NUT and the NASUWT have made it clear to Gove that if he wants to stop the strikes all he has to do is agree to enter into meaningful negotiations about his proposals and to date he has refused to that.

“We all know there is a symbiotic relationship between teaching and learning. Defending our conditions of service and pay is an important contribution to the life chances of the pupils you teach.”

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Union members will march down Whitehall tomorrow, past Downing Street, to a protest rally at Westminster’s Emmanuel Centre, after meeting in Malet Street at 10.30am.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are striking over the government’s measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more.

“We have met frequently with the NUT and NASUWT to discuss their concerns and will continue to do so. He has offered to meet with them as many times as would be useful to them, in order to continue the discussions.”

“All strikes will do is disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.”

Christine Blower, the NUT’s general secretary, said striking is never a step teachers take lightly, but that the government’s plans would make teaching a less attractive profession, which “would not be in the interests of teachers and children”.