AROUND one hundred teachers who took part in a national strike over ‘poor working conditions’ attended a rally in Dorset today.

Representatives from schools in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset met regional members of the National Union of Teachers at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne.

Regional executive representative, Robin Head, said afterwards: “I’m very pleased with the turn out today. I know the majority of parents are supportive even though some of them have had to make child care arrangements and we apologise for that because we don’t want to be doing this.

“We gave Michael Gove several opportunities to talk with us about these issues but he hasn’t done, so there is nothing else we can do except to take this action.

“In general we are finding the public’s reaction positive so I think our message is getting across.”

Teacher Mary Apperley, who works at the Oak Academy in Bournemouth, said: “As a teacher I work very hard for my pension and it is going to be that I have to put more in and get less out and no one can explain why that is.

“Today I have had some real food for thought and it has boosted my confidence again by coming to a meeting with other teachers who feel the same way.”

The industrial action has been condemned by the Department for Education which says it not only disrupts parents’ lives, but damages children’s education and the reputation of the profession.

Why industrial action has been taken

  • Excessive workload and bureaucracy
  • Performance related pay
  • Unfair pension changes.

According to the NUT, many teachers are leaving the profession due to workload pressures. A Government survey published last month shows primary school teachers work nearly 60 hours a week and secondary school teachers nearly 56 hours.

Teachers say that government policies mean they spend too much time on bureaucratic box-ticking rather than teaching and that performance related pay creates even more bureaucracy.

Teachers also don’t believe they can work to the age of 68 in order to receive a full pension.