Education in crisis: Ebbw Vale Teacher says strikes are needed as staff struggle to survive

Teacher Hannah O'Neil tells Alexandra Hartley about the struggles some teachers are facing during the cost of living crisis.

An art teacher from a school in Ebbw Vale says "education is in crisis."

Hannah O'Neill has been in the profession for 18 years, and says it's currently at breaking point.

She told ITV news "Education is in crisis, it's got to the point where it's not sustainable any more, we are haemorrhaging colleagues because they can work elsewhere for better money and better conditions and little workload to go with it.

"We need to have an increase in wages so it actually becomes a profession that people want to come into."

She added that pay and conditions are being eroded with teachers and support staff struggling to survive with the cost of living crisis going on. 

Teachers across Wales are going on strike over pay on Wednesday 1st February.

"Some colleagues are not putting the heating on. Some people are car sharing because they can't afford fuel. They've changed where they shop.

"They're not going out socializing, or out with family and friends because they just can't afford to do the things they would usually do."

Teachers have already rejected a 5% pay offer which they say amounts to a pay cut due to inflation. 

Unions also rejected the offer of a one off payment from the Welsh Government.

David Evans, Wales Secretary from National Union of Teachers has said "Wales aspires to have a world class education provision, but we can't do that when we see teachers leaving the profession in their droves and difficulties with regard to recruiting teachers coming through.

"We want to make sure people are attracted to this profession and want to be in the profession and stay in the profession and that's part of the battle."

Parents at Radnor Primary school in Cardiff said they are sympathetic to teachers but the strikes will cause issues for them with work and childcare. 

A Welsh Government spokesperson, said: “We have held constructive meetings with unions and these will continue.

"We want to reassure learners, parents and carers that we are working with partners to resolve the current dispute and that we understand the strength of feeling amongst the education workforce.

“We are working in social partnership with unions to explore a way to resolve the current dispute.”

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