Teachers strike as more than 100 schools affected in Gloucestershire
TEACHERS, many of them from Gloucestershire, united with thousands from across the South West in a strike affecting more than 100 schools in the county.
Thousands of pupils stayed at home as schools, including 25 in Gloucester, were fully or partially closed yesterday.
Teachers are unhappy at changes to working conditions which will see them pay more into pension schemes and receive less on retirement – and work up to the age of 68.
They're also objecting to Education Minister Michael Gove's plans for performance-related pay and an increase their workloads.
Gents, come in to Earl's & Co and enjoy a haircut and finish, glass of whisky and a shoeshine for £18.50
Terms: Later and earlier appointments available upon request
Contact: 01242 504887
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
Newent Community School maths teacher Dave Hampson was one of around 50 Gloucestershire teachers who joined thousands in Bristol on a joint NUT and NASUWT march.
He said degrading teachers' pay and conditions wasn't just an issue which affects teachers, but pupils too.
"Our pensions are being made worse, our retirement age is going up," he said.
"That affects us but it affects the profession too as a whole. When you come into the profession you understand that if you do your job properly you will go up the grades."
He said that in effect performance-related pay won't account for work done to help less able, or disruptive pupils.
John Pemberthy, branch secretary of the NUT in Gloucestershire, said he understood parents' concerns, particularly if they had to pay for childcare, but said they should blame Mr Gove.
"Our dispute is not with parents or schools but the minister," he said. "We are taking action as much as anything to protect schools."
Former Cheltenham secondary school teacher Ian Morgan was on the march too.
"The move towards academies has done away with so much," he said. "We used to have experienced teachers who were subject leaders and could advise and share ideas."
Parent Marcus Annfield said his children Daniel, 16, and Amy, five, attended Crypt School and Benhall Infant School as they weren't affected by the strikes.
"I am against the strike because of the effect it has on the local economy with so many parents having to take time off work," said Marcus, lettings manager of Woodfield Lettings. "But I agree with the teachers on performance-related pay – I can't see how it would be fair."
Karri McLaughlin took her eldest daughter Chloe to school at St Peter's High in Gloucester – but her two daughters at St Dominic's RC Primary School in Woodchester did not go in because it was closed.
"I understand the teachers need to be heard but I'm not sure that the way they are doing it sends out the right message to our children," she said.
"St Peter's has opened for years seven and eight as they are not legally allowed to be home alone so the strike doesn't affect working parents."