More strikes threatened

Further strike action at sixth form colleges could be on the cards after a walkout by staff on Thursday (March 26) over pay and conditions.

National Union of Teachers (NUT) members marched through the streets of England’s major cities in protest against government plans to implement performance-related pay, among other changes.
It is not known how many sixth form colleges were affected, or whether any were forced to close, but the NUT has warned that further strikes could happen if an agreement isn’t reached.

Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) HR director Graham Baird said: “We are disappointed with NUT’s decision to press ahead with the one-day strike action.

“The impact on sixth form colleges varies across the country, but we are aware that the vast majority of sixth form colleges will have made their own arrangements for the day to ensure that wherever possible students can attend colleges and continue their studies independently, if necessary, without too much disruption.”

Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, said the strike, which also hit schools, had been “a clear demonstration that teachers are thoroughly tired of the intolerable pressures they are being put under by the coalition government”.
She added: “Despite being the only teachers’ union to be taking action, members still felt it was essential they made a stand.

“Teachers cannot and will not take any more of the diktats from government that are ruining teaching and education. We will be continuing with our campaign of engaging parents and the public and applying pressure to politicians.

“Teachers love teaching but are crushed by the long hours and stifling accountability regime. If there isn’t movement in the talks there could well be further strike action this summer.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The NUT has tried to create as much disruption for pupils and parents today as possible
“Parents will struggle to understand why the NUT is striking over the government’s measures to let heads pay good teachers more.

“They called for talks to avoid industrial action, we agreed to their request, and talks have been taking place weekly.”