Teachers gathered in Market Hill to protest about changes to their jobs and pay during a one-day strike yesterday.
Members of the NUT and NASUWT teacher unions took action over excessive workloads and bureaucracy; cuts and other changes to teachers’ pay; adverse changes to their pensions; and job cuts.
The one-day strike saw five schools in Luton fully close - these were Challney High School for Girls, Icknield Primary School, Lea Manor High School, St Martin De Porres Primary School and Woodlands Secondary School, and 26 partially close.
Neil Sankey, joint secretary of the Luton NUT branch was at the Market Hill rally and said: “The reason why I am striking today and why teachers are striking today is for education, because the quality of education is being eroded by this government. They are putting unqualified teachers into our profession, driving down teachers’ wages, driving down standards.”
Mr Sankey said many teachers work 60, 70 and even 80 hour-weeks to cope with their immense workload, which was echoed by other teachers at the rally including representatives from Whitefield and the Meads.
Mr Sankey said: “Teachers are constantly called names by Michael Gove (education secretary), saying they are unprofessional and don’t care about their children. Well teachers care fundamentally about the children they teach. They are dedciated to their proffession and their profession is being totally taken away from them to the point where there won’t be a teaching profession in three or four years because this government is completely and utterly dedicated to destroying state education and education within local authorities. “
A statement on the NUT website said: “Teachers are deeply concerned about the impact these imposed changes are having on the morale of the teaching profession, the recruitment and retention of teachers and on the provision of quality education for pupils.”
> For a video of the rally see www.lutontoday.co.uk