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Rotherham - Rawmarsh school teachers continue strike action
Striking Rotherham teachers led the 500 strong Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance (SACA) demonstration on 29 January. 37 National Union of Teachers (NUT) members took a further three days of strike action last week against the "savage cuts" of 34 posts at Rawmarsh community school (RCS).
RCS teacher, Cath Boyle, explained to a SACA meeting why teachers had been taking strike action for four weeks, with further action planned over the next three weeks up to half term.
"A new head came in September. There was a £75,000 inherited deficit and pupil intake will decrease by 219, about 20%.
"So he told ten key staff that they would be made redundant and 34 names appeared in red on his Powerpoint presentation, around a third of all staff. 42 staff have had letters saying that they could be "at risk". Nine were told that they are going at Easter. Class sizes are already 25-28-30 and will obviously rise.
"We've had no option but to take strike action. Support from parents and the kids has been fantastic.
We all go on the picket line in the mornings, then have a meeting to update, then go out leafleting at other schools or in Rotherham town centre, or speaking at other union meetings."
The six days of strike action has reduced the threatened number of compulsory redundancies to ten but the other 24 posts are still going through job-sharing or natural wastage. So more pressure needs to be put on the Labour-controlled local education authority with a ballot for a Rotherham-wide NUT strike.
The Rawmarsh teachers' strike is becoming a beacon of opposition to an avalanche of education cuts in Rotherham. Thomas Rotherham college has axed its adult education courses affecting 150 mature students and Rotherham College of Arts and Technology has a £2 million deficit and is threatening 70 staff cuts.
Maltby teachers have voted against being turned into an academy and there is widespread opposition to plans for a "free school" in the Dearne. Teenagers have occupied youth centres against threatened closure.
There are plans to link all these campaigns together through a 'Kids not Cuts' demonstration and launching a Rotherham Against the Cuts campaign.