Thousands of Haringey teachers join strikes today

Around 40 Haringey schools are closed today and another 15 are partially closed as teachers join what Julie Davies of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) is calling “the most solidly supported teachers strike in years”.

Highgate Wood Arts College, Greig City Academy and Fortismere, as well as St Mary’s CE Junior School, Campsbourne Primary School and both St Paul and all Hallows Junior and Infants schools are just some of the secondary and primary schools which are closed while Coleraine, Earlham and Muswell Hill Primary School are offering a limited amount of classes.

Tony Brockman, National Union of Teachers (NUT) Haringey Secretary, said that the fact that the vast majority of teachers in Haringey had chosen to take strike action sent a clear message to the coalition government that proposed changes to their pension schemes would not be tolerated.

However, there has been significant criticism of the strike action from both sides of the political spectrum. Education Secretary Michael Gove has called the action “premature” and warned that the strike will “damage the chances of Britain’s most vulnerable children”. While, Labour leader Ed Miliband has described the decision to strike as a “mistake”.

Speaking in response to Mr Gove’s comments, Mr Brockman argued that while he had sympathy for those people who would be inconvenienced by the strike, in reality it was the education secretary’s policies that were having a negative impact on vulnerable children.

Mr Brockman argued that cutting teachers pensions will make teaching a less attractive career to talented young people which in turn will mean that the standard of education children receive in Britain will suffer.

In response to Mr Miliband’s comments, he said that public sector workers would be disappointed by the Labour leader’s words and suggested that the he felt that the politician had a poor understanding of the issue.

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Meanwhile, Simon Clarke, a member of the University and College Union and a resident in Haringey, mocked the government’s suggestion that the planned changes to public sector pensions were necessary in order to cut the deficit by pointing out that if there was enough money to spend on military intervention in places like Afghanistan and Libya, then there was enough money to maintain the existing pensions scheme.

Speaking on Tuesday Mr. Clarke said: “It’s a joke that it costs the equivalent of my annual salary to keep a jet flying over Tripoli for one hour.”