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Now unions tell of fear that 50,000 teachers could quit ‘in Gove vendetta’
6:00am Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
Teaching unions defended yesterday’s strike, saying there had been more school closures than in any previous industrial action.
Bradford Council figures showed 124 of the district’s 214 schools were fully or partially shut as staff protested at proposed changes to working conditions.
The NUT and NASUWT, whose members make up more than 85 per cent of district teaching staff, were both involved, with many attending a rally in Leeds or forming picket lines outside schools.
There had been a mixed response from parents affected by the disruption but Bradford NUT spokesman Ian Murch said striking was the only way unions could get their message to the Government and Education Secretary Michael Gove.
He said: “We don’t want to cause inconvenience but it couldn’t be avoided in this case.
“The level of school closures was higher than with any previous strike.
“There is a lot of passion involved in these issues and the support just proves how deep these feelings go.
“Teachers are being placed under unjust attack and feel Michael Gove has some sort of personal vendetta against them.”
Mr Murch confirmed a national day of strike action may take place at the end of November if planned talks with the Government to resolve the issues are postponed.
NUT representative Dominic Sheeran, who helped organise a picket outside Queensbury School, said the strike was necessary to allow the public to see first hand the anger and concerns of teaching staff.
“We understand the frustration of parents but we’re being pushed into this,” he said. “These nonsensical policies are not wanted or needed by the profession.”
Mr Sheeran expressed a fear that up to 50,000 teachers could quit – a concern echoed by Councillor Ralph Berry, portfolioholder for children and young people’s services at Labour-run Bradford Council.
He said: “This strike has been a cumulative cry of pain and anger and I am very concerned that creative teaching is being hammered and good teachers may be driven out.
“Teachers have snapped and the incredibly strong support for this strike action is unprecedented.”
The Department for Education said earlier: “All strikes do is disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.”
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