Budget cuts have been hard hitting for schools across England and have now reached an all-time new low.
Just last week, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers Kevin Courtney has said “Strikes are a possibility” and London is seeing its first one.
Teachers across three South East London schools planned a two-day strike against cuts even before the Tory funding cuts have begun to hit schools.
Members of the NUT at Forest Hill School who are facing a £1.3m budget cut, Corelli College could stand to lose 17 jobs and up to 30 at Plumstead Manor School walked out last Thursday and on Tuesday of this week.
Lewisham and Greenwich councils are overseeing the cuts. Joe, the NUT rep at Forest Hill School told Socialist Worker, the council released a statement following the strike last week. “It said they had considered the ‘value for money’ of the cuts. I thought it was scandalous.”
Another protest made up of teachers and parents took place last Saturday following the strike.
Lynley, a parent who joined Saturday’s march, also told Socialist Worker she was “very angry” at the council. “I don’t understand why councilors think they can say it’s not their problem.”
“I’ve had councilors tell me that they’ve done all they can. But they haven’t. It’s not fair.”
Plans of George Mitchell School in Leyton, East London turning into an academy led to a walk out on Tuesday of this week which forced the school to close. The growing privatisation of education is worrying teachers and the NUT is considering possible legal challenges against academies that are trying to bring in selection and grammar school status by the back door.
More strikes have been planned over the coming weeks.
Teachers from St Edward’s sixth form in Havering, East London will strike this Thursday over jobs cuts and increased workload.
NUT members at the Inclusion and Specialist Support Team (ISST) in Hackney are due to strike on 9 May. The following week they plan two days of strikes, and three days the week after that. Workers there first struck earlier this month. NUT members at Hackney’s Parkwood School also struck alongside them—and could join the strikes next month.
And NUT members at Dormers Wells High School and Dormers Wells Infants School in Ealing plan a strike on 11 May over proposals to turn the school into an academy.
NUT members at Ark Elvin Academy in Wembley, North London, are set to strike on 3 and 4 May over redundancies and excessive workload.
A National strike has already been agreed one-day next term after members of the NUT unanimously voted in favour of one.
There are also more Saturday protests planned against education cuts in five areas across England. On 20 May Bristol, Sheffield and Leamington will all see protests.
A protest will take place in Lancaster on 13 May, and another in Newcastle on 27 May.
London delegates to the NUT’s annual conference voted to hold a regional protest in the capital on 24 June. The union should bring this forward—a Saturday protest over education in London could mobilise thousands onto the streets.
NUT members in Lambeth and Wandsworth, South London, have called a protest at Old Palace Yard, parliament, on Thursday 18 May from 5pm.
April 26, 2017