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Teachers' Strike: Hundreds attend Durham NUT rally

Hundreds of people have attended an NUT rally in Durham in support of a national teachers' strike over what they claim is inadequate funding.

Education Secretary Nicky Morganhas said the strike will "harm children's education" and "damage the profession's reputation in the eyes of the public".

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Number of school closures in council areas

As teachers across the region stage a 24-hour strike, pupils remain at home because of closures.

Teachers are involved in a national dispute with the government over school funding.

Below is a list of how many schools are affected (closed or partially closed) in each of our council areas.

  • Durham - 65
  • Newcastle - 29
  • Northumberland - 30
  • Sunderland - 43
  • South Tyneside - 17
  • North Tyneside - 13
  • Redcar and Cleveland - 6
  • Middlesbrough - 55
  • North Yorkshire - 42
  • York - 23

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Teacher strike over 'inadequate' school funding

The National Union of Teachers is staging a strike today over what it says is inadequate school funding.

A demonstration in support of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), as teachers in England are to stage a one-day strike over pay and conditions. Credit: PA

NUT acting leader Kevin Courtney is calling for an increase in funding to meet rising costs for schools.

Education Secretary Nikki Morgan has said the strike will "damage the profession's reputation in the eyes of the public".

In a letter to Mr Courtney she urged him to reconsider the industrial action:

Removing unnecessary workload for teachers is a priority for this government, and we have made this clear in our discussions.

To suggest we aren’t prioritising school funding is disingenuous...This year the schools budget will total around £40bn, an increase of around £4 billion since 2011-12, so it is now the highest it has ever been.

It is also disappointing that the underpinning basis for this strike seems to be teacher pay.

I believe this action is counterproductive – it will harm children’s education, inconvenience parents and damage the profession’s reputation in the eyes of the public.

– Nikki Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Education

Durham Council say teaching assistant contracts are "unfair"

Durham County Council have released a statement in response to the teaching assistants demonstrating outside their offices against proposed changes to their contracts.

Teaching assistants are protesting today against proposed changes to their contracts. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The Council say changes to the current contracts are "both fair and equitable for its teaching assistants by bringing them into line with its other 17,000 employees."

The council is considering changing the pay structure of teaching assistants from a 52 week salary to term time only.

Cllr Jane Brown, Cabinet member for corporate services at Durham County Council, said:

“The council proposal is that teaching assistants should only be paid for the hours that they work like all other council employees, and only for the weeks that they work on a term-time basis.

“The current remuneration arrangement is that a large number of teaching assistants work 32.5 hours per week and yet they are paid as if they work 37 hours per week. In addition they are paid as if they work 52 weeks per year, rather than the school term-time only that they actually work.

The council see this as being unfair and the proposal is to amend their terms and conditions to bring their pay into line with the other 17,000 council employees who only get paid for the hours actually worked. Regrettably, this will mean a reduction in some teaching assistants’ income and in order to mitigate against this, the majority of schools have agreed in principle to increase the hours worked of teaching assistants to 37 hours. This means that they would not suffer a detriment as a result of change in weekly income.

Taking this into account, the average loss of income in respect of the teaching assistants being paid for working term-timing as opposed to being paid as if working 52 weeks per year, is less than 10% and to help individual teaching assistants to manage through the change in income, the council has proposed a three year phased pay protection arrangement for those individuals affected.

The council believes this proposed change in terms and conditions is both fair and equitable for its teaching assistants by bringing them into line with its other 17,000 employees.”

– Cllr Jane Brown, Cabinet member for corporate services at Durham County Council
  1. Rachel Bullock

Teachers strike over Government proposals

Hundreds of teachers have marched through the streets of Durham as their fight with the Government over changes to pay and conditions reaches boiling point.

Education Secretary Michael Gove wants to alter teachers pensions and introduce performance related pay. Unions say the move will devastate the profession and children's education.

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