'We'd rather be in class' - teacher's anger over school funding as strikes continue

The rally took place in Plymouth on Thursday. Credit: ITV News

A furious Plymouth teacher has accused the Government of 'running education into the ground' and says she and her colleagues are fighting for young people's futures.

Speaking to ITV News as union members marched through Plymouth on another day of strike action, the teacher said: "I don't think any of us actually want to be here today. We'd far rather be in front of our classes doing what we love.

"But it's because we love it that we're here. It's because we love it that we can see how it's being eroded by lack of funding; the fact that our pay rise doesn't even meet the cost of living; the fact that we can't do what we want to do in our classroom, we don't have the resources.

"The Tory Government frankly have got real questions to answer about what they have been doing for the last decade. They have been running education into the ground. So. parents and teachers, we are here for the future of your children's education. It can't go on, frankly."

People of all ages marched through Plymouth city centre. Credit: ITV News

The Government claims it did offer to meet the National Education Union - but only if they agreed to pause Thursday's strike action.

Union leaders say without a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise, the disruption will continue.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: "As a government, we have made a serious offer to the leaders of the National Education Union: pause this week’s strikes, get round the table and talk about pay, conditions and reforms.

"It is hugely disappointing the NEU has thus far refused this serious offer and has not joined the Royal College of Nurses in calling off strikes.

"Instead of sitting round a table discussing pay, the NEU will once again cause disruption for children and families in the South West of England.

"Children deserve to be in school, and further strike action is simply unforgivable, especially after everything children have been through because of the pandemic."

The teachers' strike is the second to take place in the region this year. Credit: ITV News

Sarah Allen, regional NEU representative, said: "During the pandemic, teachers were working doubly hard. People seem to have forgotten that very quickly. This now feels like a real kick in the teeth.

"Kids do need to be in school. Teachers don't do this lightly. But if there's no other way to bring the Government to the negotiating table, then this is what has to happen."