Thanet teachers explain strike action to parents and pupils at gates of Newington primary

Strike action explained: Julie Hessey, Jane Ward and Tim Knight Photo Jemma Willson

By Jemma Willson

Teachers on the Isle and across England staged their seventh strike this morning (July 7), their second just this week.

Among them were members of staff from Newington Community Primary School in Ramsgate who are part of the NEU (National Education Union).  As children and their families who were able to attend school this morning did so, they were greeted by the three.

Tim Knight and Jane Ward who teach in year 2, and Julie Hessey who teaches Reception, handed out stickers that stated “I voted YES to fund our schools”, and leaflets with information surrounding their reasons for striking.

The trio answered questions from intrigued children and their grown ups, while they also waved flags and called out their thanks to drivers who beeped their support.

Julie, Jane and Tim Photo Jemma Willson

As parents waited for the school gates to open, the trio explained more information to those who had extra questions, and the atmosphere was one of understanding and support, rather than irritation or annoyance.

Any confusion today, and prior to this week’s picketing, seemingly lies with the conversation surrounding pay demands, something which Tim Knight explained further.

He said: “This isn’t about pay, it’s about funding for our school, and the future of our children.”

He highlighted the leaflet, still being handed out by the other two members of staff, which say:

More teachers than ever before left the job last year.

40,000 left last year-which is 9% of all teachers.

The number of head teachers who left before retirement is the highest it’s ever been.

The gap between the number of new teachers needed, and the number actually starting, is the worst it’s been for decades.

The number of job vacancies recorded in England’s schools is the highest since 2004.

The number of children in class sizes over 30 is the biggest ever.

The pupil:teacher ratio in both secondary and primary schools is among the worst in the OECD (The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development).  In secondary, only Chile, Brazil, Columbia and Mexico are worse.

Although the disruption has been minimised and handled as best as possible with members of staff missing, thanks to the quick and thorough organisation by headteacher Hannah Tudor and her team, the NEU have said that this disruption could have been ended by ministers if they’d already offered a better deal.

The government has previously offered a £1000 one off payment to teachers, and a 4.5% increase for staff for the next school year, but the NEU along with other education unions, had rejected this offer, citing a report by the STRB (School Teachers Review Body) which has recommended a 6.5% increase.

Tim Knight, Jane Ward and Julie Hessey, agree with this response, and along with the strike action at the school today, joined 300,000 other teachers who are part of the NEU, and marched on parliament on Wednesday 5th July.

London march Photo Tim Knight

“We will continue to strike, if the union gets enough votes and until the government listens and realises there is a crisis in education.”  Tim Knight said.  “Ultimately, we are doing this for the state of our schools, and to make sure we have the money to resource children’s learning.”

As of today, Gillian Keegan the Education Secretary, has remained silent since she last spoke about the matters at Easter.

The NEU and strikers across the country remain determined to continue spreading their message to Gillian Keegan and the government, saying if the government wants the strikes to stop, talks must restart, an independent report into pay needs to be published, and funds need to be increased in order to stop this crisis. Until then, strikes and disruption unfortunately remain.


  1. Funny isn’t it, they are strike for an unaffordable pay rise, they let the students down appalling during Covid, yet they are only on strike to make things better for the school children .
    What do they take us for mugs…….probably.

    • Think you will find it was the Tory government that let students and everyone else down in Covid, not teachers. Look at the covid reports for proof of the scum that are in run the that party, those are who let everyone down.

    • Why are you blaming the victims John? So far Doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, fire & rescue, postal workers, rail workers, border force officers, civil servants, lawyers & barristers, make your own list have had to take industrial action, because this rotten to the core government are making them take a pay cut, again! They are public servants, and an easy target, what I would like to see is all the Tory MP’s take a 26% pay cut which is what these essential workers have lost over the last 13 years of Tory misrule!

  2. Agree with,john, the first thing they go on about,has always been ,pay . Now change of words,to look good,stating about the state of ,schools,pay second or third reason now.No doubt,in the next strike days ,they will put the blame on something else.Do they really think Kier Starmer,will give them everything ,they want .Oh look at those pink elephants fly

  3. I completely support the teachers’ strike. They are underpaid, and state schools are underfunded; this is why children’s education is suffering.

  4. I understand that teachers are being offered 3%, against a back drop of surging inflation and interest rates.
    Effectively, teachers are being offered a pay cut.
    Had the government offered pay rises in line with inflation over the past dozen or so years, there would be no dispute, no industrial action.
    Anyone who thinks that being a teacher is a piece of cake should volunteer to help in the classroom, and see first hand stressful situation teachers find themselves in day after day.

    • First of all ,the offer,as far as we know is near to 5%, much more than you state .All jobs ,have stress related reasons ,if you cannot do any job ,because of pay and conditions, look ,somewhere else.why ruin kids education,will teachers strike during their summer holidays,doubt it,or doctors on £120000 a year say they can’t cope on that wage,yes ,they all do good work teachers ,doctors etc.The only way to pay these demands is for massive tax rises.Watch Kier Starmer,raise taxes,if he can get in

  5. You’re right. the offer is 4.5%. Next year.
    At the moment the Bank of England base rater is 5%, and inflation 9%
    So any pay rise less than 5% is a slap in the face.
    I think that the pay scales for a job should reflect the nature of the job. The more arduous and difficult it is, the more pay. I notice that 40,000 teachers left the profession last year.

  6. Just to keep you informed it might be the dustman next week striking ,they taking a vote on Monday

    • I wouldn’t be surprised.
      As a consequence of “Austerity, foist upon us because of reckless gambling by thr banka, public sector workers’ pay has fallen way behind inflation.

  7. Teachers in the employ of government, like all government employees get the benefits of (1) not being let go as easy as in private employment, and (2) better pensions than private employment. In exchange, their salary is not as good as private employment.
    The “more money for the children” issue is not related to the strikes and a diversion as it would not be a reason to strike if the children were actually a priority for the people striking.
    This is a display of disapointing selfishness from those who are supposed to be trusted partners teaching our children and teaching them to be productive members of society.
    Political parties are not an issue here, our children are the only issue.

    • Mike. You clearly know no one who teaches. I do. The time they put in during holidays and after hours is much longer than people think. Since lockdown the early years classes have been full of children who have had little or no social awareness and are now plonked into a class of 30 or so children so the teachers have to cope with an unprecedented number of kids who are really difficult to teach because they need to learn how to be part of a group. Secondly the Govt is saying any payrise must come out of existing school funding ie less money for books etc. just look at the facts- teachers are leaving on unprecedented numbers- that tells you all you need to know

  8. If it’s not about money, and it’s about the children,how come all tshirt s and placards ,show wanting more money

  9. As someone who has been on this planet for over 6 decades British politics is simple.

    Tories will reward the well of. Will run down public services. Will increase interest rates. Will increase unemployment. Will lower the living standards of the working classes. The Tories just cut, cut and cut and reward their mates with lowering the high tax rate.

    Labour now have to stop this circle of running the country down.
    So need to raise money for public services. Reduce unemployment, raise the working class standards of living etc.

    Than the cycle starts again back to Tories and their cut cut cut.

    Plus why do riots always seem to be under the Tories ? They push people to far. The only growth under the Tories are food banks.

  10. I bet they won’t be protesting for more pay during the summer break. Do not worry protests for more pay will resume when the new term begins.

  11. Just like the nhs staff, Govt was all over them with praise when they needed them…now it’s over they don’t want to know. Oh-Steve and Ray, unlike I imagine in your day, (and mine)teachers day doesn’t finish when they go home at 4, it’s hours of marking and lesson prep, all for on many cases about the same as Aldi pay- that’s why there’s a shortage and getting worse. Still – if you feel your up to it, feel free to sign up, plenty of vacancies

    • I was bought up ,by good parents ,who said ,if you don’t like the pay and conditions ,of your job ,move or get a second job, something ,I have lived my life by.These days people want something for nothing,just do your job ,or move

  12. Johnny

    I agree teachers dont get paid over time.
    After school activities are unpaid as are marking, preparing lessons etc.

    So many people think teachers just work 9 till 3:30.

  13. Oh just keep pumping knowledge into the kids, but wear transparent trousers. Your employers will soon back down!

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