Nick Gibb, the schools minister, has criticised today's strike action by the NUT teaching union, saying it has "absolutely no justification". Responding to a question in Parliament, he added: "This strike is a futile, politically motivated gesture, and nothing to do with raising standards in education…
"The industrial action by the NUT is pointless, but it’s far from inconsequential. It disrupts children’s education, it inconveniences parents and it damages the profession’s reputation in the eyes of the public."
Responding to an urgent question raised in the House of Commons by Nic Dakin, Labour MP for Scunthorpe, Mr Gibb argued that the schools’ budget – at £40 billion – represented an increase on funding for the previous year.
'Lost the plot'
In reply, Mr Dakin said: "Everyone knows that, despite the secretary of state’s protestations, school budgets are going to fall, in real terms, up to 2020. Headteachers know this, parents know this, and it’s been confirmed by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
"The only person who’s shoving her hand [sic] in the sand is the secretary of state…It’s clear that the government have lost the plot."
Mr Gibb insisted that he had been speaking to union leaders since May, in order to address some of the concerns raised by striking teachers.
"Our school workforce is and must remain a respected profession, suitable for the 21st century," he said. "But this action is seeking to take the profession back in public perception to the tired and dated disputes of the 20th century…
"This anachronistic and unnecessary strike is a march back into a past that no one wants to revisit."