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‘Half of schools’ affected by NUT strike as teachers walk out

Primary and secondary school teachers from across the borough joined a national strike on Tuesday against proposed government “funding cuts”.

Southwark Council said it expected half of the borough’s schools to be affected by the National Union of Teacher’s (NUT) strike, who claim 2,000 members in Southwark.

The News has learnt that Bacon’s College in Rotherhithe and Charter School in Dulwich were among several that asked entire year groups to stay at home.

The joint secretary of Southwark’s NUT branch, Michael Davern, told the News: “The NUT is aware strike action can be disruptive to parents and carers and for that we wholeheartedly apologise. Equally, teachers do not take strike action lightly. The problems facing education are too great to be ignored and we know many parents share our concerns.”

Teachers from across the country also joined a 15,000-strong march through central London, which started at 11am in Portland Place and finished in Parliament Square.

A letter written by the NUT’s general secretary, Kevin Courtney, to the secretary of state for education, Nicky Morgan, also set out their case for industrial action.

Mr Courtney cited the Institute of Fiscal Studies forecast that schools could lose eight per cent of funding in real terms in the coming years, and referenced increasing class sizes, fewer subject choices, and staff cuts.

Mr Courtney’s letter said: “The main cause of this is increasing pressure on school budget due to the per-pupil funding freeze, exacerbated by the higher national insurance and pensions costs imposed by your government which are adding an extra five per cent to the cost of employing teachers.

“We make one last appeal to you to avoid this action: Fund school sufficiently… Tell academies they must at least have regard to the national terms and conditions… Promise meaningful talks to look for a full resolution of the dispute.”

In a letter responding to Mr Courtney, Nicky Morgan accused the NUT of “playing politics with children’s futures”.

Ms Morgan said: “We are investing more than any previous government in our schools. This year the schools budget will total £40bn, an increase of £4bn since 2011-12.”

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