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From: The Socialist issue 1114, 16 December 2020: Unemployment and Covid rising - The crisis is not over - Fight for jobs and safety

Search site for keywords: School - Students - Teachers - NEU - Education - Hackney

Determined strikers at Leaways school

Leaways school strike

Leaways school strike   (Click to enlarge)

Chris Newby, Hackney Socialist Party

NEU members at Leaways school in Clapton, East London, are taking part in a six-day strike spread over three weeks. The school is run by private company Kedleston Group, and teaches children from across London with autism and social emotional and mental health difficulties.

Teachers and support staff are angry that the school is not providing the conditions to enable them to give students the best possible education. They are demanding that the school gives them parity with the 2.75% pay award that teachers in state schools have received, instead of the 1% the school has offered them, and an increase in the number of days sick pay, which currently stands at seven days a year. They are also demanding an increase in the number of staff as classes are currently understaffed.

NEU members on the picket line explained the terrible conditions that they and the students work in. This is a four-storey building where the heating doesn't work above the ground floor. This, coupled with the fact that windows have to be left open because of Covid, means that teachers, education assistants and students have to keep their coats on the whole day because it is so cold. Also, there are not enough computers to go around for the students. There are also no outdoor play areas for the students.

The striking NEU members are very determined to win their demands. There have been about 30 to 40 on the picket line, with lots of homemade placards. It is clear that there is a lot of local support, with many passing motorists tooting their horns. The strikers were very pleased to see Socialist Party members visiting the picket line to offer their support. The next three days of strikes run from 15-17 December.

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Article dated 16 December 2020

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Sheffield Just Eat strikers step up action and hold mass rally, photo by Alistair Tice

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