Teachers to march over reforms
Teachers from across London will take part in a march to protest against the Government's education reforms.
Up to a thousand teachers and school support staff are expected to take part in the event in Westminster, central London, according to organisers. The action comes just two days before members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT in the North West are due to stage a one-day walkout in a row over pay, pensions and workload.
Tuesday's demonstration - which has been dubbed A March for Education has been organised by the London branch of the NUT.
Alex Kenny, NUT executive member for inner London, said: "There is a growing crisis for education in this country and it is being caused by Education Secretary Michael Gove and his continual attacks on teachers and students.
"He wants to deregulate teachers' pay and conditions not to improve education but to allow full scale privatisation of our schools. There is a looming crisis in the supply of pupil places, which he is doing absolutely nothing to address - he should allow councils to plan and build the schools they will need."
The Department for Education said that it was "disappointed" that the two teaching unions were opposing their pay reforms, and warned that strike action will disrupt schools. A spokeswoman said: "It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are opposing measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more. We have met frequently with the NUT and NASUWT to discuss their concerns and will continue to do so.
"We are very disappointed that the NUT and NASUWT have decided to take strike action, which less than a quarter of teachers actually voted for. Industrial action will disrupt pupils' education, hugely inconvenience parents and damage the profession's reputation in the eyes of the public at a time when our reforms are driving up standards across the country."
Thursday's walkout is the latest move in the NUT and NASUWT's campaign over changes to pay and pensions. They claim that 2,765 schools in 22 authorities in the North West will be affected by the walkout.
The unions have announced a rolling programme of regional strikes over the next few months, affecting schools across England and Wales. The action is likely to be followed by a national walkout in the autumn. Mr Gove wrote to both unions in March to say he was willing to meet them to discuss their dispute, but also insisting that the ''direction of travel'' on both of their key issues is ''fixed''.
Under the Government's reforms, due to come into effect from this autumn, teachers' pay will be linked to performance in the classroom, with schools setting salaries, rather than following a national framework. Changes have also been made to public sector pensions.