Teachers take to the streets as strike affects 45 schools in Newham

Teachers demonstrate in central London over changes to pay and conditions

Teachers demonstrate in central London over changes to pay and conditions - Credit: Archant

A nationwide strike by teachers closed schools across Newham today as thousands marched to picket the Prime Minister over changes to teachers’ pay and working conditions.

Newham Council said 45 schools in Newham were affected by the strike, with 26 closed, 19 partially closed and three remaining open.

Demonstrators met in Malet Street near Euston at 10.30 this morning (October 17) before setting off for Downing Street in Westminster.

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

At the march people chanted, “Go, Gove, go!”, referring to education secretary Michael Gove, whose teaching reforms the strikers oppose.

Before the march, 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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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.

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.

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

They added: “We have met frequently with the NUT and NASUWT to discuss their concerns and will continue to do so.”