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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 May 2018

Springfield school strike in Birmingham against job cuts and workload

Springfield school strikers marching, May 2018, photo by Jane Nellist

Springfield school strikers marching, May 2018, photo by Jane Nellist   (Click to enlarge)

Bob Severn, South East Birmingham Socialist Party

What a racket! Hundreds of car (and some bus and truck) horns were honked in support of Springfield Primary School teachers on 24 May when National Education Union (NEU) members took their first day of strike action against further job losses and increased workloads.

Springfield, in south east Birmingham, is becoming an academy, but the effects of academisation are already being felt. Over the past year experienced teachers and support staff have already been cut, and now more experienced teachers - some who taught the parents of current pupils at the school - are for the chop. The job losses would result in increased workloads that are already at a dangerously high level.

The NEU members believe that further increases to workloads will reduce their ability to provide the school children with the high-quality teaching they deserve. Yet at the same time there are plans for four non-teaching director roles. Alternative proposals put forward by the NEU have been ignored. It is no surprise that staff morale is at an all-time low.

Aghast at the size of and support for the strike, management ushered pupils into school while trying to stop them talking to their own teachers! The NEU members, who will escalate action after half term if the plans aren't dropped, marched along the roads outside the school at the end of the picket.

The fantastic support for the pickets from parents, children and the wider community shows the value of a community school with settled, experienced teachers. Academisation, forced following an Ofsted inspection, threatens to tear that apart.

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