Coventry teachers join national NUT strike

Coventry teachers join national NUT strike

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Protesting outside the Department for Education building in Coventry

Today saw members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) take industrial action against funding cuts to schools, an increasing workload, and schools using unqualified teachers in order in classrooms in order to save money. Members of the NUT say they will continue to take industrial action demanding no more cuts to funding, so they can continue to provide an outstanding education and support for every child to develop and thrive.

Around 80 teachers and other trade unionists protested outside the Department for Education building in Coventry and at Godiva Statue, as well as holding picket lines at schools across the city.

“The 12% reduction in funding to Coventry schools will devastate education in this city. We will see a possible increase of class sizes to 35 and classes taught by unqualified teachers. Teachers will see their workload further increase and it is intolerable now. More and more teachers will leave teaching either by choice or by being made redundant as schools tighten their belts. Parents should be angry that this will impact on their children’s education.” said Nicky Downes, Coventry NUT equalities officer and Socialist Party member.

Since the Tories came into power we have seen attacks on our education, NHS and other public services across the country. Today it was announced that junior doctors have rejected the imposition of a new contract – the next step should be for them to take strike action alongside teachers, as part of the fight against austerity.

LIVE: Coventry teachers show solidarity with striking junior doctors

LIVE: Coventry teachers show solidarity with striking junior doctors

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NUT joins picket line today at Walsgrave 

The all-out junior doctors strike continued into its second day today, and once again the picket line at Walsgrave hospital in Coventry was well supported. As we highlighted yesterday, the solidarity developing between junior doctors and teachers is crucial – and seeing the Coventry NUT banner on the picket line today is another great example!

Junior doctors go back to work tomorrow, but this dispute is not over – doctors have lodged a legal challenge against the new contracts, but are determined to beat them before they are implemented.

Coventry teacher ‘We need to highlight homelessness’

Coventry teacher ‘We need to highlight homelessness’

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Campaigners outside Edgwick Play Centre – defending play facilities and homes is critical

The following was a speech written by a delegate from Coventry to the NUT conference. Unfortunately due to time constraints the speech wasn’t made, however we are publishing it on our website as it raises some critical issues for our city.


 

This week I sat with one of my students as he described with glee that he had moved into a new home. He showed me photographs of his new home and talked about how he could now fly his remote control helicopter in his living room. A month ago he was a completely different child. He lived in one room with his family in a hostel.

A hostel that provided nothing, not enough beds, no cooking facilities and washing facilities that were shared amongst many families. Every day he arrived late as he had to travel across the city to school.

Despite the conditions he has been living in, he always smiles, but he has found it incredibly hard to cope with school. Learning has not been important as his priorities have been led by basic needs. In the past month, since being rehoused, he has made more progress than he has made in the previous six months. He has started to speak more confidently and read and write.

As teachers, we know that if children are living in poverty and deprivation, it will adversely affect their mental health and in turn their learning. In this data driven education system, this is one thing that can be measured. But we are told that this is irrelevant and all children in Primary should be working at the same level. It’s crazy.

There are an increasing number of children in exactly the same position in my school. In Coventry, in the last year, 290 homes were repossessed. The CAB has recorded a 100% rise in enquiries on homelessness.

Many of these will have been from families with school age children. The main reasons for this, the CAB quotes, is the changes to benefits and benefit sanctions which have led to sanctions that have meant that many cannot pay rent or mortgages and stay in their home.

We need to highlight homelessness in the same way as we have raised the use of food banks in Coventry. The publication of the numbers of our children and families living with constant transience and homelessness should shame this government in exactly the same way. Forcing them to resign and pull back on benefit sanctions.

We need to fight the austerity cuts locally, whoever they are carried out by. Cuts that are removing homelessness support services and money for refuges that are the last line of support for many of these families.

We need to shame the landlords that are profiting from this situation and that are evicting our families. Shame the banks that are repossessing homes. We need to defend those who face eviction. We need to demand that all our children have a right to safety, to a home and to an education that is not fractured because of government policy.

 

 

 

Teachers want action from their trade union – views from a Coventry teacher

Teachers want action from their trade union – views from a Coventry teacher

Joint action between NUT and NASUWT at John Gulson Primary in Coventry

Joint action between NUT and NASUWT at John Gulson Primary in Coventry

The following piece was written by a teacher from Coventry and was carried in the latest issue of ‘The Socialist’ newspaper. Since it was published a majority on the National Executive have voted to oppose taking joint industrial action on 14 October.

You can read more about this disappointing decision here.

If you are in a teacher and member of the NUT and want to help build the fight for co-ordinated action in the union, please fill in the form at the bottom of the article.

 


 

By Nicky Downes

At my school in Coventry a number of staff have been out on strike, picketed, attended marches and rallies each time the National Union of Teachers (NUT) have been on strike.

Although the concessions we have won so far have been relatively small, the understanding is still there that we must continue the action until we win improvements in pay and pensions, an end to Performance Related Pay and improvements to workload.

The local NUT executive in Coventry has, before each strike, lobbied the union’s national executive to make sure the action is continued and escalated. This important action has been mentioned at national executive meetings. Other local associations should do the same.

Continuing with the odd day’s strike will not win. There is a mood for escalating to two days of action or more if necessary. This does, however, need to be built for.

The NUT will be surveying its members over the next few weeks to judge the mood. This is after a break when struggling to work 60 hour weeks has not been an issue. During this time the only communications from the union have been adverts for a week’s break at the union owned Stoke Rochford Hall,and for insurance. It would have been a good time to take stock of what we have achieved so far and to build for action in October.

Teachers in my school and across the country will be both angry and surprised if we do not strike with other public sector workers on 14 October. It’s interesting that the survey won’t be finished by then. I hope this means that the union already feels committed to striking on that date and the survey will merely be to confirm the necessity for further, and likely escalating, action in the future.