Schools in Barking and Dagenham 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 Barking and Dagenham 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.

Dominic Byrne, division secretary of Barking and Dagenham NUT, said: “No teacher takes strike action lightly - this is a last resort for teachers.

“The education secretary should do as his counterparts in Wales have done and enter into meaningful dialogue with the NUT and NASUWT.”

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Teachers at Barking Abbey School have been leafleting outside parent information evenings since the start of term to explain why they are striking, accusing the government of putting children’s education and future “at risk.”

They have collected hundreds of signatures from parents supporting them.

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”.