Teachers ‘raise their voices’ as strike affects 50 schools in Barking and Dagenham

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 Barking and Dagenham today as thousands marched to picket the Prime Minister over changes to teachers’ pay and working conditions.

Barking and Dagenham Council said 50 schools in the borough were affected by the strike, with 18 closed, 32 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.

Anna Wolmuth, of Barking and Dagenham National Union of Teachers, speaking from the march, said: “There’s a great atmosphere. We all know that we’ve had no choice but to strike.

“Together we show we can raise our voices to the people in power and make a difference.”

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.

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

Before the march, 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.”

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.”