A Labour shadow minister has condemned striking teachers as “irresponsible”, warning they are leaving “vulnerable” children “roaming the streets, getting into drugs”.
Lord Adonis, a former schools minister, who now shadows the treasury, also publicly urged other left wing politicians to condemn the current teacher strikes.
“We will never have a decent deal for teachers unless they behave professionally,” he said.
“There is nothing more irresponsible in a profession than withdrawing your services and leaving vulnerable young people who depend on you to turn up and to teach day by day.
“People like me, and I am on the left in politics, need to be very, very clear that there should be some no go areas.
“And teachers striking on issues, which are of secondary concern – it maybe that there is some fundamental issue which once in a generation comes up – but issues of secondary concern, that is basically unprofessional conduct.”
Stephen Twigg, Labour shadow education secretary until Monday’s reshuffle, has been criticised by ministers for not condemning strikes organised by the NUT and NASUWT unions. His replacement Tristram Hunt has yet to speak on the issue.
Lord Adonis was at an event launching new research on teacher status commissioned by the Varkey Gems Foundation. He made his comments after being asked about the next round of industrial action scheduled to take place next week.
He added: “You will not get society’s esteem for a profession which does not turn up at nine o’clock on a Monday morning - leaving children at home, in front of the sofa, roaming the streets, getting into drugs, all of those other things that happen – simply in pursuit of what is a course that should be negotiated.”
No one from the NASUWT or NUT leadership was available for comment.
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