Newham Recorder Big Debate: Were Newham teachers right to strike against government cuts?

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) strike closed 61 borough schools on Tuesday last week (July 5), with teachers citing cuts to education as the reason for their action.

Conservatives claim the strikes harmed education, with the union saying concern over education is the very reason they went on strike. This week, we ask whether the strikes were necessary of harmful.

Matthew Gass - Deputy Chairman Membership & Finance at West Ham Conservatives

As a school governor and former classroom worker, I have the greatest respect for the teaching profession and the hard work and sacrifice it demands.

But neither the interests of teachers, or children, were advanced by last week’s strike. By striking, the NUT and NASUWT played politics with children’s futures when both sides should be delivering educational excellence.

The government is protecting the core schools budget, which will be at its highest ever level next year.Spending on education is at £40billion and has gone up £4bn since 2011-12. Plans are also in place for the New National Funding Formula, which will bring a fairer balance to our school system. Excellent educational attainment should not be based on where a child lives, and ministers have shown they are committed to improving all young people’s life chances, regardless of background or circumstance.

As a society we place enormous value and trust in the professionalism and skills of teachers. That is why it is important to reduce burdens upon teachers and enable them to focus on what really matters in the classroom, teaching and learning.

Teachers have every right to make their voices heard on how to deliver excellent education. But it is important to also remember the disruptive effect this action has on pupils and parents.