Islington teachers go on strike over pay, pensions and working conditions

Members of NUT and NASUWT at Victoria Square, Birmingham, during a one day strike on October 1 by t

Members of NUT and NASUWT at Victoria Square, Birmingham, during a one day strike on October 1 by thousands of teachers across four English regions about pay, pensions and working conditions. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Most schools across Islington have closed today as teachers join a national strike over changes they say threaten the future of education.

Teachers are concerned at proposals by education secretary Michael Gove to allow individual schools to set teachers’ salaries and promotion criteria, increase the retirement age to 68, get teachers to pay a bigger proportion of their salaries into their pensions, increase the length of the school day and reduce school holidays.

Gove’s proposals also mean teachers moving to another school would not automatically get the same wage.

Teachers say they are deeply concerned about the impact these proposed changes would having on the morale of the teaching profession, the recruitment and retention of teachers and the provision of quality education for pupils.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), which represent more than three quarters of teaching professionals, have reached an impasse with Mr Gove.

Islington NUT assistant secretary Ken Muller, said: “We apologise to parents for the inconvenience and disruption the strikes will cause to them and their children, but we ask for their support.

“We aren’t just striking in defence of our pay, our pensions and our working conditions. We are also fighting for an education system which operates in the interests of all children, not just the privileged few.”

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Picket lines will be at Mount Carmel School in Duncombe Road, Archway, Islington Sixth form Centre in Goswell Road, Finsbury, Islington Arts and Media School in Turle Road, Finsbury Park, and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Donegal Street, Islington, at various points throughout the day.

A Department for Education spokesperson said the decision is “disappointing”.