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Issue #1644      June 25, 2014

Teachers lead mass London march

Teachers led the People’s Assembly march against austerity through London on June 21. Britain’s teachers are fighting back against government plans to “destroy the education system” and marching en masse.

“This demonstration is about fighting against a government which is attacking public-sector workers, it’s about protecting our public services,” National Union of Teachers executive member Gawain Little told the Morning Star.

Con-Dem cuts have devastated Britain’s education system, with the teachers’ union having to fend off a wave of privatisation and attacks on teachers’ pensions.

“This government is waging a war on teachers and the education system, trying to return us to Victorian values and nationalist ideals,” said south London teacher Simon Hardy.

Newly qualified Mr Hardy said he knew how precarious conditions were not just for young teachers but also for poorer students, who find themselves marginalised by Education Secretary Michael Gove’s curriculum changes.

Mr Little echoed this sentiment, saying he was marching because the government will “ruin the life chances of generations, of our children, and that cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.”

Brighton teacher and NUT member Seema McArdle condemned ministers’ proposals to have unqualified staff teaching in classrooms.

Ms McArdle said that “government has to take responsibility for someone doing the job being paid correctly for it.”

For those who want to teach, more access to training is needed and the Department for Education should play a role in it, she said.

But instead Mr Gove was “pitting people against each other. We need to stand in unity against this.”

Mr Hardy added: “As teachers it is important that we fight back and take on Gove and the whole rotten coalition.”

Morning Star

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