“The funding for school kids has been cut catastrophically, but the cuts for students 16-18 have been even worse” said Alan Clifford, NEU teachers rep at Notre Dame Sixth Form College, explaining to Socialist Party members visiting their picket line that the sixth form college sector has faced cuts of £1.1bn since 2010.
Notre Dame was one of over 20 sixth form colleges where NEU members, both teachers and support staff, were taking strike action on Thursday 17th October. As Alan explained, the consequences of the cuts has meant “Class sizes have got bigger, our pay has been depressed.” In recent years pay for sixth form college teachers has been seperated from schools as well.
This motivated a good turnout on the picket lines of NEU members, but the strikers were also joined by other trade unionists and several students from the college.
As Alan made clear, the £400m pledged from the government to education both “isn’t real yet, but is nowhere near enough to reverse the cuts that we’ve suffered.” If the government doesn’t budge then NEU members will be back out on strike on the 5th and 20th November.