Strikes called over school funding, as Greening denies she is ignoring the problem

NUT announces action in response to proposed redundancies at two London secondaries, whlie education secretary denies that the government is overlooking funding pressures because of its focus on grammar schools

Will Hazell

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Members of England's biggest teaching union are to go on strike at two London schools because of planned redundancies which they say are linked to funding cuts.

NUT teachers at Plumstead Manor School and Corelli College, both in Greenwich, south-east London, have announced that they will take strike action on Thursday 20 April and the following week on Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 April.

Martin Powell-Davies, London secretary for the NUT, said schools were being “starved of funding” at a time when their costs are increasing.

The announcement came as Justine Greening denied that the government was ignoring school funding pressures to focus on expanding grammar schools.

Speaking to the BBC, the education secretary said: "I don't minimise the challenges that schools face.

“We are putting in record amounts but we are absolutely committed to working with all schools to make sure they can get the very most out of that money."

The NUT said the strike at Plumstead Manor School – which will also be supported by members of the GMB union – is in response to proposals to cut posts that could result in up to 27 redundancies.

'A growing crisis in our schools'

The union said that while an agreement has been reached with Greenwich Council, which runs the school, to extend its licensed deficit, “more support is needed to avoid the negative impact of the cuts”.

Kirstie Paton, assistant secretary of Greenwich NUT, said: “Often local authorities will step in to take on deficits of schools converting to academy status so that they have a ‘clean slate’.

“If it’s good enough for academies, then why not our local authority schools?

“It’s not our deficit and we don’t think students and staff should lose out due to mistakes that were made in the past.”

At Corelli College, which is an academy, the NUT said staff were called into a meeting two days before the Easter holiday and informed that up to 17 jobs were at risk. NUT members agreed to strike “unless the governing body withdraw the cuts”.

The union said that at both schools “the bulk of the redundancies have fallen on support staff”.

Mr Powell-Davies added: “Our teachers who will be out on strike are taking this action to fight for jobs and courses, but also to raise awareness that local authorities, the Education Funding Agency and the Department for Education all need to step in now to stop this growing crisis in our schools.”

Tes contacted both schools and Greenwich Council for comment.

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Will Hazell

Will Hazell

Will Hazell is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @whazell

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