Thousands of angry teachers, parents and union members marched through the streets of Manchester today as part of a full day teaching strike.
Hundreds of teachers, most of whom are members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) or the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, (NASUWT) gathered in Cathedral Gardens with banners and plaques in a show of solidarity against the Education Secretary Michael Gove’s radical plans for changes to teachers pay and working conditions.
They marched around the streets of the city centre in a long line which stretched down most of Portland Street, before rallying in Piccadilly Gardens – where they were joined by hundreds of other protestors.
The strike was part of a joint rally organised by the NUT and NASUWT across the North West which resulted in 2,765 schools closing in 22 local authorities.
In Piccadilly Gardens the huge crowd was greeted by Christine Blower, the NUT general secretary.
She praised the crowd for the ‘amazing turnout’ and the teachers’ support.
She said: “The crowd looks fantastic, the banners look fantastic and I can say that except possibly a child who has made a breakthrough in their learning, nothing puts a smile on a teachers face like standing up for education.
“I’m delighted to be here with so many NUT members, NASUWT members and our friends and supporters, this is a brilliant demonstration.
“We’ve got parents here, we’ve got governors here, we’ve got children and young people and yes their education was disrupted today but if the government get away with it, their education will be destroyed for a generation.”
Teachers are angry about Michael Gove’s plans to introduce more teachers who have not gained Qualified Teaching Status (QTS) into academies and schools, as well as to introduce performance related pay rather than an automatic increase by level of service.
The teaching unions say that they have met with Mr Gove, but felt action was still necessary.