Teachers have backed calls for a ballot on strike action over education funding cuts at The National Union of Teachers (NUTS) conference in Harrogate.
The trade union’s annual conference took place in the Harrogate International Centre from April 3-7 and saw a wide range of issues over teaching and education discussed.
However, it was the funding crisis which took centre stage at the conference, with union members voting for a post-election strike, should the next government fail to address concerns.
This means that schoolchildren in North Yorkshire could face disruption to their education before the end of the year if there is no new plan to protect school spending.
Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, warned that schools faced looming funding cuts which would damage pupils’ education, lead to job losses and hit teachers’ pay, pensions and workload.
She said: “The Coalition Government has not protected education funding. Many schools have seen real terms cuts in their budgets, and have seen valuable local authority services cut back or lost altogether.
“NUT Conference has called for the teacher unions to work together to defend education.
“With pupil numbers up and with schools facing additional costs due to increases in employer National Insurance and pensions costs, the NUT is calling for all political parties to commit to investing to provide the additional school places we need and to protect education spending.”
A deadline of the autumn statement has been set for the next government to clearly pledge to protect funding or face a triggering of a ballot on industrial action.
Ms Blower warned that the cuts have already resulted in worsening working condition for teachers, restrictions on their pay progression and many being ‘driven out of the profession’.
She said: “We need a first class education system to support economic recovery.
“The NUT has today called for the restoration of education funding to the levels required to support this vital investment in our future, including improved pay and conditions to reverse the growing teacher recruitment and retention problem.”
The NUT’s Halifax-based treasurer Ian Murch warned of a ‘night of long knives’ at every school and college as teaching staff are cut should funding per pupil remain fixed at the current level.