AS the NUT took strike action today in a dispute over funding cuts, pay and conditions, the Shadow Secretary of State Angela Rayner, MP, issued the following statement in the House of Commons:
“As a lifelong trade unionist myself, I know that taking strike action is probably the most difficult decision we ever take. No-one takes it lightly, especially when they are teachers who will lose pay and of course valuable classroom time with children they teach."
"The issues over which teachers are striking are within the power of Ministers to solve. Instead of issuing ritual condemnations, will they now take action to address these causes?"
"70 per cent of heads say that cuts are directly affecting the standard of education in our schools. Class sizes are increasing, pupils are getting less choice about the subjects they can learn about, jobs are going and children are now getting less individual time with staff.
"Teachers are facing a crisis in their workload and that is contributing to a collapse in retention of teaching staff - can the Minister tell us what action they are taking to reduce workload, and what targets they will be accountable for?"
"The working conditions of our teachers are the learning conditions of our children - and they deserve the very best!
"And all the time, the Secretary of State has refused to say anything about what will happen to teachers pay and conditions in September, with the end of term less than a month away. Will she now tell the House what her plan is?"
"And will she finally take a break from running the Justice Secretary's campaign team for the Tory leadership, do the day job and get back around the table with teachers' representatives to agree a deal that provides a top quality education for the next generation?"