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Rotherham teachers strike to save jobs

by Rotherham NUT members

Kids not cuts! That was the fighting message from striking teachers who started three days of strikes yesterday (Wednesday) over “savage” job cuts.

Rawmarsh Community School in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, is in a former mining area. It is to lose 34 staff, including 20 teachers – a quarter of the teaching staff.

The cuts are a bid to reduce a £1.3 million debt and an overspend of £400,000 this year alone, which has nothing to do with teachers or students.

One teacher said, “Teachers and our students are paying the price for overspending at the school for years and the damage caused by the market being brought into education.”

Further strikes were set to go ahead on Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

Strikers rubbished claims by head teacher Stuart Wilson that the school needed fewer teachers as pupil numbers had fallen sharply since 2008.

Despite the headteacher’s boasts of being able to keep the school open during the strike, pupils were sent home after less than an hour as the school was forced to close.

Teachers know the job losses will force up class sizes and children will not receive the education they are entitled to.

Striking teachers have received scores of message of support from teachers at other schools and trade unionists and backing for their action from many parents.

One parent said, “If they couldn’t keep the school open with 30 members of staff missing, how are they going to manage next year when they have sacked 30?”

Another parent said, “They’ve shut the pits, they're attacking schools, all they want our kids to do is join the army and get killed in Afghanistan.”

The 24 NUT union members at the school voted unanimously in favour of strike action.

Under initial plans outlined by the head in October 30 staff faced the axe in April.

But the strike led the Local Education Authority, Rotherham Borough Council, to step in with around £300,000 of funding and the 20 redundancies among teaching staff were postponed until August.

Ten support staff are still expected to lose their jobs in three months time.

The biggest teaching union at the school, the NASUWT, has lost members to the NUT as a result of the strike. It has now said it will ballot for industrial action if plans for compulsory redundancies go ahead.

Striking teachers have received scores of message of support from teachers at other schools and trade unionists and backing for their action from many parents.

Please send messages of support to ralphdyson@yahoo.co.uk and

donations to NUT Doncaster office, 7, Chequer Road, Doncaster DN1 2AA.

You can receive updates on the dispute by following our Twitter feed (@RotherhamNUT) or on the Rotherham NUT Facebook page


Article information

News
Thu 6 Jan 2011, 12:40 GMT
Issue No. 2233
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