Video: “Hey ho, Michael Gove has got to go” - striking teachers hold rally in Norwich

Teachers' meeting outside the Forum in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith Teachers' meeting outside the Forum in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
1:35 PM

About 200 flag waving and whistle blowing teachers, parents and supporters chanted “Hey ho, Michael Gove has got to go” at a lunchtime strike rally.

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Teachers' meeting outside the Forum in Norwich. Photo: Bill SmithTeachers' meeting outside the Forum in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

The group gathered outside The Forum at Norwich at noon to hear speeches as National Union of Teachers members held a one day strike in their dispute with the government about pay, pensions and conditions.

At least 77 schools in Norfolk, as well as dozens in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, are fully or partially closed today.

Bridget Williamson, an English teacher at Neatherd High School in Dereham, said: “You are looking at 50 to 60 hours a week. It means that term time is dominated by your teaching job. Like every teacher I love my job and I am absolutely passionate about it, but it does dominate.

“It does create stress. My children are grown up, but I don’t know how teachers with young families actually cope. It means working from 7.30am to 6pm every day, and working at the weekend as well.”

Teachers' meeting outside the Forum in Norwich. Photo: Bill SmithTeachers' meeting outside the Forum in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Unlike last year’s strike, only the NUT is taking industrial action, with the NASUWT opting not to take part.

Nick O’Brien, who also teaches at Neatherd High, told the crowd: “It’s a shame that the NASUWT are not out with us. I think it’s important that tomorrow when we go back to work we send a message to them that this was a really big rally and the people were behind us.”

He also led the rally in a chorus of boos for education secretary Michael Gove and Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw.

Helen McGuinness, Norwich Secretary of the NUT, told the rally that the introduction of performance-related pay for teachers would mean that test results would decide whether a teacher could afford their rent or mortgage payments. She also reiterated concerns about workload and stress.

A Department for Education spokesman has said parents will “struggle to understand” why the NUT was pressing ahead with its strike.

A spokesman said: “They called for talks to avoid industrial action, we agreed to their request, and talks have been taking place weekly.

“Despite this constructive engagement with their concerns, the NUT is taking action that will disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.”

Are you affected by the strike? What do you think? Comment below or email martin.george@archant.co.uk

36 comments

  • ...."think about what it might actually be like to walk a mile in their professional shoes"....snow permitting?

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • If your job isn't great and your terms and conditions are foul I'm guessing it's not the fault of a teacher. If someone tries to fundamentally change the terms and conditions of your job without negotiating you can withdraw your labour as a way of complaining. Maybe some of the people who appear to have a terrible time in their employment should have listened a bit more to their teachers. You may have been a little less vulnerable in the labour market and able to negotiate more effectively. I'm not a teacher. I'm self-employed in the charity sector therefore no holidays and no pension. Yet I am not bitter about other people's T&C's. If it's that galling get a job as a teacher - are you good enough for it?

    Report this comment

    NR1 Guru

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • If all teachers are putting in hours mentioned why are the results not so much better. Perhaps it should be considered if there is too much box ticking for education depts. and not enough teaching. Then of course there is class size. Is so much of the out of school time spent on marking the work of pupils. 30 essays on Henry IV ( or what ever) must be tedious and I don't think I would want to be no 30. Maybe the time has come to actually analyse time spent on what and the end result. I would suggest not by education dept or union - a complete independent source.

    Report this comment

    jennifer jane

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Sportswagon I entirely agree. the comment below from N is rational, neutral, intelligent and considered unlike a lot of the vituperative slanging that makes up the majority of this comment stream. Unfortunately the same people take the same negative stance regardless of the topic under discussion in many articles on this site. Bitter, resentful people with too much time on their hands.

    Report this comment

    Thoreauwasright

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • @DaveG: And whose faults that? is it the teachers that you don't have a pension, have to work long hours? Perhaps you should have trained to be a teacher or something, maybe got a better job?

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • NUT by name, NUT by nature. The penny will drop one day with this union that they have lost public support and to continue to go on striking will further alienate them even more. Some of the teachers really ought to get out in the real world and understand that many people are working just as long hours and more as them, in far harsher conditions. Who do not have the gold plated employment terms and conditions they have. Sometimes people do not know how well they are off at times.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • That was my point Andy.

    Report this comment

    Jon

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Its just the Left Wing N U T sriking ! there are other teaching unions who don't strike

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • The main reason that teachers don't like Mr Gove seems to be that he actually has IDEAS for progress: teaching unions simply want to keep education where it has struggled for the last 30 years. Get an open mind NUT!

    Report this comment

    Patrick

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • These child like teachers need to grow and grow up quickly,or be sacked.The public like what Gove has to say,and about time the truth about our appalling state education systems failings are addressed.Half these striking teachers look,dress and behave like they were on a p... up on a Sat night down you know where

    Report this comment

    PaulH

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Perhaps those who revel in the opportunity to criticise teachers should stop and think about what it might actually be like to walk a mile in their professional shoes, rather than harp on about the myth that the job is all about working short days and having lots of holiday. If it's that easy why are so many leaving the profession? I work in a very busy job in industry, so like many people have a rubbish pension and work more hours than I'm contracted to. However my company occasionally works with schools to talk to the pupils about career opportunities etc, so I get to see life in the classroom firsthand. As a result I have nothing but respect and sympathy for teachers in light of what they have to contend with and do not begrudge them their pension; there is no way I could do their job and if I had their pension scheme then I would fight as hard as I could to keep it. What the criticisers some to forget or ignore is that teachers and schools now seem to be the Government's default setting for solving society's social problems and everyone else can sit smugly by thinking they don't have to play their part because the schools will do it for them. Teachers are expected to be inspiring and engaging to every child all day, every day, yet I defy anyone to be at the top of their game in any job 100% of the time, let alone when it involves trying to keep 30 children in a class totally focused and achieving what they should be. They are also expected to be social workers, who have to try and deal with parents who don't give a damn or parents at the other end of the spectrum who think they know better than the teacher or that their little prince or princess couldn't possibly be unruly or anything less than a genius. On top of all that, they are on the receiving end of a constant barrage of edicts from Government who change the goalposts every 5 minutes. Of course, there will be teachers who probably shouldn't be doing the job, but that is no different to every other workplace and profession which all have their fair share of people who aren't up to the job. I'm not a political person and don't support a particular political party but from what I see, hear and read, Mr Gove is not interested in engaging with the teaching profession but seems intent on lambasting it and is totally unwilling to listen to their perspective on some of the proposed changes to curriculum, testing etc. I have no issue with the aim to raise standards, but there is far more to education than simply a set of exam results. There are some elements of education where success simply cannot be measured by a test but that doesn't seem to be considered.

    Report this comment

    Row71

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Teachers think they have it so hard. They'd never cope if they had to work longer hours, 6 days a week, maybe one or two weeks holiday a year. Get in from work and do all their phone calls, ordering, VAT, paperwork etc. Hardly any pensions left because that's all disappeared. They might like to think about that next time they visit their self employed mechanic, hairdresser or have a local builder in.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • @Andy: 40% of new teachers don't last five years. You would think if it was so easy, stress free and fun that wouldn't be the case. I wonder if perhaps its not the bed of roses so many claim it is?...

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Teacher to Head....I would like a few days of next week to go to a school in France for an interview. Head...ok. Make it a round 5 days. Head...ok. Can I have the 5 days pay in advance, every little helps. Head...ok. If I get stuck in France...I'll send you a text. Head...ok. If I do get stuck in France for any reason will you still pay me until I find my way back. Head...ok. Thanks Head, you are the best. Head...zzzzzzz.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Andy It wouldnt be a bad idea if the teachers and all other publicly paid servants had to re-apply for their jobs yearly.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • I think it should read Hey ho several teachers need to go, May I suggest every head on strike should be dismissed and other teachers should be reminded of there responsibilities towards the children they teach. If the kids acted like these teachers there would be hell to pay.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Poor quality teachers - poor quality student leavers - just ask the CBI! If you know who that body is?

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • @monkeynuts. If new teachers don't last five years, how do you get old teachers? @Jon. Teachers just going through the motions due to burn out don't help children. Perhaps that's why they need to be performance managed? It may motivate them.

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • @Andy T: I did say 40%. Meaning that 60% do continue. As for performance related pay. Tricky and very problematic. Teachers teaching kids in deprived areas will struggle and teachers teaching nice middle class kid wont. Add to this many other social problems that are out of teachers control which will effect how students school performance and you have a problem that you cannot lay at the teachers feet. We need to weed out bad teachers obviously, but doing so via the performance of their many students is not right.

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Teachers have and will continue to have better pensions that the private sector can ever dream of, in addition to long holidays and a raft of other benefits. If you aren't happy get another job and re-apply for it every year like so many other people do. Now get back to work and stop inconveniencing parents!

    Report this comment

    Andy

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • And here is a genuine question posted by a teacher on a forum that prompted my flight of imagination...."How many days is a teacher allowed off school to attend interviews. I'm attending a job fair which lasts for four days, and my HT says I'm only allowed three (but they aren't sure.)".....the teacher then went on about his so called 'rights' to paid time off.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Another sad day when some teachers show why they have forfeited the right to regard themselves as professionals. Real professionals never go on strike; their duty is to those they serve and not just to those who pay their salaries.

    Report this comment

    Old Hand

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • The decision to strike seems to be taken very easily, just as the decision to close the schools when snow is forecast a week away. Sounding bitter as i come to the end of another 15 hour day with no pension and 28 days holiday a year.

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Intelligent comment N...I too visit schools and know exactly what you mean. Perhaps to answer one question re-standards being low is that there is no other job subject to constant change, political interference and really nasty, ignorant attacks by the media and bloggers on here. Just can't believe how some people here seem to think they know so much about the world of teaching coming out as they do with their usual rubbish about the real world and a real job. Let's see what they bleat about when there is no one left to do it.....perhaps they will then attack the NHS, Fire Service etc. The GB public truly gets much better service than it deserves. I would never hold on to my employees if I subjected them to this and certainly wouldn't get away with ripping up T&Cs of employment in the way the DfE has done so.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • The placards in the picture tells you all you need to know. Socialist Worker! The uneducated teaching the uneduacated

    Report this comment

    caleb

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Good comment Sweet Cheeks. Not just hell to pay, but fines too!

    Report this comment

    Patrick

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • I'd also like to say that many teachers have retired in their early to late 50s, how many other jobs could you do that?

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • I wish I had their benefits and pensions - silly me, I chose to work in the private sector! Well said Andy and"V".

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • I dont support the strike but agree that Gove has got to go, he is taking education back 50 years.

    Report this comment

    Crazy

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Yet again we have the teacher haters out in force, with the only knowledge of teaching of what they received when they were young. Not knowing what actually entails within a teaching post and it's associated duties. I can guarantee that all of the haters on this page wouldn't stand a chance if they were in a classroom full of children. As in response to the strike, has anyone actually looked at the reason why this is happening? Do you actually think that teachers take this action lightly? I suppose if it's in the Sun newspaper then it must be correct as this is the type of hatred that only comes from a reader of this type of trash.

    Report this comment

    Billy_bull5hit

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Good to see intelligent arguments supporting teachers, following the ignorant, ill-informed comments at the start based on cliches and prejudices. I agree completely with "N" who , lime me, has a job in the so-called "real world" but can still recognise what teachers have to do and the pressures they face. The EDP recently ran some good articles about education and its problems in Norfolk. Perhaps they could get a reporter to shadow a teacher and report on what they actually have to do in the "Real world", with some statistics to show the hours they work preparing lessonshomework and marking it, to provide some facts and dispel some of the persistent myths about "easy jobs" and "short hours". My kids went to a local comprehensive in Norwich and I'm grateful for the hard work most teachers there do in supporting them getting a good education, which will help them get good jobs.

    Report this comment

    Stephen Strange

    Friday, March 28, 2014

  • Yet again we have the teacher haters out in force, with the only knowledge of teaching of what they received when they were young. Not knowing what actually entails within a teaching post and it's associated duties. I can guarantee that all of the haters on this page wouldn't stand a chance if they were in a classroom full of children. As in response to the strike, has anyone actually looked at the reason why this is happening? Do you actually think that teachers take this action lightly? I suppose if it's in the Sun newspaper then it must be correct as this is the type of hatred that only comes from a reader of this type of trash.

    Report this comment

    Billy_bull5hit

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • The decision to strike is never taken lightly by teachers. We are all aware that losing a day's education has a detrimental effect on a child's progress and inconveniences parents. However, being taught on a daily basis by an overworked, exhausted (both physically and mentally) and stressed teacher, who regularly works 12-14 hours a day, is far worse. So many teachers are currently are suffering from burn-out and are just going through the motions, because they have literally nothing left to give to the job. I've loved being a teacher for more than a decade but, as things stand at the moment, I wouldn't encourage anyone to follow in my footsteps. The workload is unsustainable.

    Report this comment

    Jon

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • The decision to strike is never taken lightly by teachers. We are all aware that losing a day's education has a detrimental effect on a child's progress and inconveniences parents. However, being taught on a daily basis by an overworked, exhausted (both physically and mentally) and stressed teacher, who regularly works 12-14 hours a day, is far worse. So many teachers are currently are suffering from burn-out and are just going through the motions, because they have literally nothing left to give to the job. I've loved being a teacher for more than a decade but, as things stand at the moment, I wouldn't encourage anyone to follow in my footsteps. The workload is unsustainable.

    Report this comment

    Jon

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • 40% don't stay for more than 5 years and some of you want to sack the rest! I can only say that the people who taught my children were excellent. Will the last teacher leaving the school please turn off the lights and lock the gates when you go.

    Report this comment

    Ghost

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • I have just worked out that the average teacher will earn £317,000 in the first 10 years of their career. That's enough to buy a nice house and have a few holidays in Tuscany. Of course they want more, everybody does, but striking isn't going to gain them anymore money or sympathy.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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