All of the city’s secondary schools and a huge number of primary schools are facing closure when teachers strike this Thursday 17th October. So far 7 schools have confirmed they will be closed, as well as 6 special schools and currently 27 primary schools.
Members across various teaching associations are supporting the strike, including the National Union of teachers. The strike will span across Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Hastings and it is anticipated that over 1000 teachers will be involved.
Most schools across the area are being forced to close due to health and safety legislations; there simply will not be enough staff on site to support the running of the schools. The assistant secretary of The National Union of Teachers (NUT) for Brighton and Hove has been quoted as saying “We’re pretty confident that with so many teachers involved it will lead to every secondary school being shut.”
Recent reports have revealed that the industrial action is strongly supported and is a direct result of the coalition Government’s failure to acknowledge, and attempt to resolve current education sector issues regarding job cuts, work overload and teacher’s pensions.
For most teachers, striking is a last resort, and those that feel anger towards the action should direct it towards the failing government. Phil Clarke of the NUT believes “We have been left with no choice except industrial action if we are to defend teacher professionalism and educational standards.”
There will be a march across Brighton commencing at Pavilion Gardens on the morning of the strike day, starting at 10:30 am, which many teachers will be involved in. Others have said they will rally outside the front of their school. There will also be marches in both Eastbourne and Hastings, with teachers in their hundreds fighting for their employment rights.
One of the big debates considers the ethics behind the strike, with many believing teachers are in an overpaid job and aren’t setting a good example by taking this course of action. Others argue the strike will have a damaging effect on schools that have to close for the day, giving delinquent pupils an open invitation to have another day off. However, the teacher’s argument is that not everyone can do a good job of teaching; those that put in the long hours and extra work are making the sacrifices and providing opportunities for our future generation to grow up educated and achieve excellent employment prospects themselves.