NEU members on strike in 34 sixth form colleges

NEU members working in 34 sixth form colleges are today taking a day of strike action  to demand more funding for their students and their colleges.

Nine colleges – in Ashton-under-Lyne, Coulsdon, Havering, Nuneaton, Winchester, Darlington, Blackpool, Rotherham and Manchester – are today taking action for the first time, joining their colleagues in Nottingham, Brighton, Cheadle, Islington, Esher, Hereford, Cambridge, Stourbridge, Sheffield, Newham, Leeds, Warrington, Taunton, Shrewsbury, Walthamstow, Bristol, Clapham, Wigan, Hackney, Solihull and Leicester.

There is currently an overall £700 million shortfall in funding for Post 16 Education.

Teaching staff numbers and support staff posts have fallen significantly due to the real-terms cuts, while at the same time student numbers have risen. This is putting the future of sixth form colleges under serious threat. If the crisis continues to go unaddressed, it is students’ education that will continue to suffer.

NEU members will be taking action to secure the funding needed to reverse job losses, class size increases, and cuts to teaching time and curriculum provision. They also want to sustain fair pay and their conditions and employment.

NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “NEU members in sixth form colleges have a very clear message for government, and their anger is growing. Each day they see the effects of shameful cuts to 16-19 funding, which have gone on much longer and much deeper than in any other school sector.

“In this election we are arguing the case for education. With today’s strike, members are amplifying that message. They are telling government and the general public that sixth form colleges are on their knees. Serious investment is needed urgently to ensure that it can remain the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the education sector. Meeting the £700m shortfall for Post-16 would be a good start.

“The public are not easily fooled by warm words and empty promises. They will look closely at manifestos and carefully weigh up the education pledges of each party. They know that if you value education, you must vote for education.”

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