South west London schools affected by biggest strike action in a decade

Picket lines formed outside schools in south west London today as part of the biggest day of strike action in nearly a decade.

In Richmond, two primary schools and one secondary school were closed while another 37 were partially shut.

Some schools offered remote teaching to pupils with the biggest impact felt in the borough’s primary schools, where 405 teachers joined the strike over pay.

The National Education Union’s (NEU) general secretary Dr Mary Bousted told BBC Breakfast: “There is a real deep and lasting anger in the profession at the neglect of children at the fact that education is so badly underfunded, by the fact that so many teachers feel forced to leave.”

Many parents took time off work to look after their children while schools contacted parents to tell which were closed and which classes and year groups were required to stay at home.

Parents and teachers have been showing their support for the action across social media. 

Parent Vix Lowthion said on Twitter: “I didn’t want to strike but the government are not listening to teachers, parents or students.

“Education is in crisis, staff shortages, large classes, few resources.

“Our children deserve better!”

Teacher Lee Parkinson wrote: “It’s worrying we’ve had more education secretaries in the last year than I’ve got glue sticks in my class, they’re gaslighting teachers to expect them to do more with less.”

Teacher Teresa Keane from Harrow told BBC News: “I’m striking today with a bit of despair, I’ll miss my students but it’s important that it’s understood how much people in the public sector are paid.”

However not everyone thinks striking is the best route to take.

A teacher who wanted to remain anonymous said to the BBC: “I don’t think striking is the answer.

“I agree with strikes overall but not for teachers as children have just been through lockdown and now we are doing this it doesn’t make sense to me.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “What is not realistic is for us to be looking at inflation-busting pay rises.

“We cannot risk fuelling inflation with above inflation pay rises, and we’ve been very clear on that point we have to look after everybody in the economy.”

For more of our news stories click here. For more information on the NEU click here.

Featured image credit: Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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