Teachers' strike that closed 115 schools across district meets support and opposition at City Hall

VIDEO: Politicians are split over teachers strike as three quarters of district's schools shut

Members of the NUT hold a rally outside City Hall

Teacher Halen Latka with her children Gabriel and Leona

Members of the NUT hold a rally outside City Hall

First published in News
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

Politicians are at loggerheads over whether it was right for teachers to walk out of the classroom today.

Three quarters of the district’s schools were closed or partially closed due to industrial action.

A rally organised by the National Union of Teachers led to more than 100 teachers marching through the city as part of the row over pay and conditions.

Bradford Council said the strike affected at least 115 schools, although more may have closed and not informed the authority.

The union wants the Government to reconsider changes including performance-related pay, raising the retirement age to 68 and teachers’ increased workload. Last month a Government report showed primary school teachers worked an average of 60 hours a week and secondary school teachers 56 hours.

But the Department for Education spokesman said: “They called for talks to avoid industrial action, we agreed to their request, and talks have been taking place weekly.

“Despite this constructive engagement with their concerns, the NUT is taking action that will disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.”

Conservative and Liberal Democrats councillors in Bradford have also criticised the strike.

They say at a time when the Council is taking a tougher stance on parents who take their children out of classes in term time, it was irresponsible for teachers to force them to do the same by striking.

But Councillor Ralph Berry, executive member for children’s services, supported the strikers and spoke at a rally at the Hilton Hotel following the march.

Ian Murch, Bradford spokesman for the NUT, said the increased workload was harming teacher morale.

“Forty per cent of newly-qualified teachers leave in the first five years. I think this is something that needs to change,” he said.

“We are really sorry to parents that we have to do this, but it is the only way we can get the Government to listen.”

Teacher Helen Latkar said: “People ask why don’t we get other jobs, but we stay because we love our jobs. But at the end of the day there is only so much we can take.”

Liberal Democrat group leader, Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, said: “I’d hope they could resolve things by negotiations, and I’m disappointed so many people have had their working day disrupted. Parents are being fined for taking their children out of school and now teachers are doing the very same.

“The Council’s educational message should always be that children are better off in school, so I’m surprised to hear Coun Berry support something that is taking people out of school.”

Councillor Roger L’Amie, the Conservative group’s education spokesman, said: “I think most teachers do a good job, but I’m not convinced that strike action is the right thing for professional people to be doing, and I’m not sure the portfolio holder should be supporting a strike which is closing schools across the district.”

Coun Berry said he felt no hypocrisy by supporting the strike, adding: “People shouldn’t just dismiss this as just a one day strike – this is how teachers are being treated, and I am sympathetic to them.”

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:39pm Wed 26 Mar 14

micela22 says...

Times have changed, teaching standards are poor & may be affected by parents/childrens rights. There is in society little respect so I don`t envy teachers their jobs, however I think the whole system needs overhauling, parents now work full time and teachers or school opening times are restrictive. Teachers should work 37 hours, with time made available for free periods for planning/marking ets, 52 weeks per year with 25 days holiday & performance management & sickness monitoring. Radical but what is expected of the rest of us & a reduction in snow days
Times have changed, teaching standards are poor & may be affected by parents/childrens rights. There is in society little respect so I don`t envy teachers their jobs, however I think the whole system needs overhauling, parents now work full time and teachers or school opening times are restrictive. Teachers should work 37 hours, with time made available for free periods for planning/marking ets, 52 weeks per year with 25 days holiday & performance management & sickness monitoring. Radical but what is expected of the rest of us & a reduction in snow days micela22
  • Score: 4

8:55pm Wed 26 Mar 14

alive and awake says...

Teachers have the best working conditions of any profession, apart from possibly Santa Claus. Any teacher who as been on strike should be barred from any promotion in the future.
Teachers have the best working conditions of any profession, apart from possibly Santa Claus. Any teacher who as been on strike should be barred from any promotion in the future. alive and awake
  • Score: -4

10:12pm Wed 26 Mar 14

jandg63 says...

why as they have the welfare of our children at heart, do teachers feel they have to strike during term time. Could they not get their message over by striking during the holidays therefore, causing less disruption to working families?
why as they have the welfare of our children at heart, do teachers feel they have to strike during term time. Could they not get their message over by striking during the holidays therefore, causing less disruption to working families? jandg63
  • Score: -2

11:00pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Bantambhoy says...

micela22 wrote:
Times have changed, teaching standards are poor & may be affected by parents/childrens rights. There is in society little respect so I don`t envy teachers their jobs, however I think the whole system needs overhauling, parents now work full time and teachers or school opening times are restrictive. Teachers should work 37 hours, with time made available for free periods for planning/marking ets, 52 weeks per year with 25 days holiday & performance management & sickness monitoring. Radical but what is expected of the rest of us & a reduction in snow days
Teachers do have many free periods each week for planning / marking.

The article suggests that 'over 100 teachers attended the rally' and that '115 schools were fully or partially closed because of the strike'. So, an average of 1 teacher per school affected bothered to turn up and support their cause! Seems like an opportunity for a day off to me. Considering the inconvenience they have caused to parents this is quite disgraceful.
[quote][p][bold]micela22[/bold] wrote: Times have changed, teaching standards are poor & may be affected by parents/childrens rights. There is in society little respect so I don`t envy teachers their jobs, however I think the whole system needs overhauling, parents now work full time and teachers or school opening times are restrictive. Teachers should work 37 hours, with time made available for free periods for planning/marking ets, 52 weeks per year with 25 days holiday & performance management & sickness monitoring. Radical but what is expected of the rest of us & a reduction in snow days[/p][/quote]Teachers do have many free periods each week for planning / marking. The article suggests that 'over 100 teachers attended the rally' and that '115 schools were fully or partially closed because of the strike'. So, an average of 1 teacher per school affected bothered to turn up and support their cause! Seems like an opportunity for a day off to me. Considering the inconvenience they have caused to parents this is quite disgraceful. Bantambhoy
  • Score: 1

8:12am Thu 27 Mar 14

Grumpygirl says...

This is what happens when dogmatic managements (Gove and his fellow Tories) impose stupid and harmful working conditions and refuse to negotiate. Under these circumstances striking is the only answer. Teachers should be supported for their courageous stand against the forces of social oppression.
This is what happens when dogmatic managements (Gove and his fellow Tories) impose stupid and harmful working conditions and refuse to negotiate. Under these circumstances striking is the only answer. Teachers should be supported for their courageous stand against the forces of social oppression. Grumpygirl
  • Score: 1

9:20am Thu 27 Mar 14

alive and awake says...

Grumpygirl wrote:
This is what happens when dogmatic managements (Gove and his fellow Tories) impose stupid and harmful working conditions and refuse to negotiate. Under these circumstances striking is the only answer. Teachers should be supported for their courageous stand against the forces of social oppression.
get used to it, your gong to get the next 15 years of this.
[quote][p][bold]Grumpygirl[/bold] wrote: This is what happens when dogmatic managements (Gove and his fellow Tories) impose stupid and harmful working conditions and refuse to negotiate. Under these circumstances striking is the only answer. Teachers should be supported for their courageous stand against the forces of social oppression.[/p][/quote]get used to it, your gong to get the next 15 years of this. alive and awake
  • Score: 0

11:27am Thu 27 Mar 14

bd7 helper says...

Saving money once again no wonder no one is interested in teaching
Saving money once again no wonder no one is interested in teaching bd7 helper
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree