Minister to warn teachers over strike action

Education
Secretary Estelle Morris is to warn teachers that any stirke action over
cost-of-living allowances will undermine the Government’s drive to reform state
schools.

Ballot
papers have been distributed to 41,000 members of the National Union of
Teachers throughout London, reports website Ananova, and a strike is scheduled
for 14 March.

Teachers
are protesting against cost-of-living allowances that the union says are
inadequate. The Government has offered to increase allowances by 3.5 per cent.

If
the strike goes ahead it will be the first capital-wide action since November
1972, when Margaret Thatcher was Education Secretary.

NUT
general secretary Doug McAvoy, said: "Just as in 1972, schools in London
and the fringe areas are struggling to recruit and retain teachers. Our schools
are doing all they can to protect pupils from the effect of teacher shortages,
but many children are still being denied the high-quality education their
teachers want to provide because teachers just cannot be found.

"The
rate of teacher turnover in and around the capital has never been higher.
Teachers come and stay for a short time, then move on because they cannot afford
the high cost of living. This forces schools to rely more and more on supply
staff to fill vacancies.

By Quentin Reade

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