Teachers strike closes 15 schools across Islington

Teachers have taken to the streets today in opposition to government pension reforms, in the process closing many of Islington’s schools.

Twelve primary schools and secondaries Highbury Grove, Holloway and Central Foundation Boys School were shut, with most of the borough’s schools suffering partial closures.

Strikers formed picket lines at the City and Islington College Sixth-form Centre, in Holloway Road, Holloway, with a larger march taking place in Westminster.

Today’s one-day strike was organised by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which opposes the government’s decision to raise the pension age for public sector workers, which means new teachers won’t be able to retire until they’re 71.

Ken Muller, NUT assistant secretary for the Islington branch, who teaches at the City and Islington College Sixth-form Centre, said: “Teachers are extremely angry to be told to work longer for their pension, and be paid less, especially when the chancellor George Osborne is cutting taxes for the rich.

“There has been an attempt to set public against private, but we want fair pensions for all. If the government thinks there is a discrepancy in pensions between the two, they should pass a law to make private employers pay more towards pensions, not bring those of public sector employees down.”

Julie Hunt, 45, of Danbury Road, Islington, who has two children at the nearby Hanover Primary School, which is partially closed, commented: “I have 100 per cent support for the teachers. I think it’s incredible that public sector pensions are getting hammered, with the money being handed to the rich.”

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“I’m keeping my children off school, it’s ridiculous that some are open and some are closed, or that some are partially open; it’s no use to parents if one child will be at home but the other has to go to school.

“I’m also concerned about health and safety, if replacement workers are drafted in. They should have made a decision to shut them all.”

The NUT wants the government to re-open negotiations over the changes, and demand a valuation of the teachers’ pension scheme.

Fully closed primary schools were Copenhagen, Duncombe, Hugh Myddleton, Montem, Pakeman, Pooles Park, Prior Weston, St John’s Highbury Vale, St Joseph’s, St Luke’s, Tufnell Park and Yerbury.