Tens of thousands of teachers strike over pay and pensions across England, and to tell Education Secretary Michael Gove they are “sick and tired” of his “relentless attacks” on the profession.
Members of the NUT and NASUWT in the North East and Cumbria, South West, South East and London are taking part in the one day walk-out which follows on from strike action in other regions on October 1.
The Department of Education said it is “disappointing” that unions are striking and estimate that just over a quarter of schools in the targeted regions are closed compared to 60% in the same areas who shut in the national strike of November 2011.
However general secretary of the NASUWT, Chris Keates, said the “majority of teachers in all four regions will be on strike today.”
Keates also criticised Education Secretary Michael Gove, who has been accused of waging a war with teachers.
“No teacher comes out with a spring in their step taking strike action,” she said.
“What we are seeing is a real air of determination to demonstrate that they are sick and tired of Education Secretary Michael Gove’s denigration of the profession and the relentless attacks he has made on them, which they believe are attacks on children and young people.”
“It is the failure and unreasonableness of the secretary of state, who day-in-day-out is disrupting the education of children and young people through his attacks on the teaching profession.”
As part of the strike, protests and rallies have been held across the country, including in Bristol, Durham, London and Brighton.
Marsham Street filled with striking teachers pic.twitter.com/ShRszU587H
— Sean Rillo Raczka (@seanrr1982) October 17, 2013
More than 2,000 people marched in Brighton, bringing part of the city centre to a temporary standstill.
— RayScay (@waughstar) October 17, 2013
@Channel4News Teaching is no longer about children. It’s corporate, it’s all about bureaucracy. People not in teaching wouldn’t understand.
— Miss M (@lauren_lsm) October 17, 2013
— Jane Stockman (@StockmanJane) October 17, 2013
@Channel4News ridiculous hours, ridiculous stress&mourning for the dismantling of a profession we love. Gove MUST listen or go.
— Claire Lawrence (@LaDeDahsClaire) October 17, 2013
@Channel4News I’m striking because teaching is a profession & should be respected as one by those forcing horrific changes on us & students.
— Caroline Nottage (@Tinseldownsouth) October 17, 2013
— Helen M (@HelenPins) October 17, 2013
— Louie (@Discolouie) October 17, 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron hit out at the unions, saying the strikes are “inconvenient for parents and not good for pupils’ education.”
He told BBC Sussex radio: “I was at my children’s school today, one class was not there but the rest of the school was operating. So every praise to those teachers who have gone ahead and kept our schools open for our kids.”
The NUT and NASUWT have both announced plans for a further day of strike action before Christmas.