Teacher speaks out to support strike action

Cathal Devlin.
Cathal Devlin.

A teacher has spoken out to support strike action in Morecambe and Lancaster schools – saying staff have been backed into a corner.

Around 90% of the North West’s teachers are due to strike on Thursday to highlight issues over pay, conditions and recent government education policy.

Cathal Devlin says he wants to stand up for his colleagues, the education system and the thousands of children who feel their qualifications are worthless.

Cathal, 33, a geography teacher in a mixed 11 to 19 comprehensive school, said: “From a political point of view you very rarely hear the opinions of young people or teachers and that’s why I wanted to speak out.

“We don’t want to strike for strikes sake but we have done it on Thursday to minimise the impact on our exam groups.

“It’s one day of disruption to make a point and to highlight pay and conditions and the damaging policies the
 government has brought in.

“I really do apologise for the strike but we have been backed into a corner.

“It’s a joint action with the NUT and the NASUWT such is the strength of feeling.

“It’s the first time we’ve felt that its enough of a big issue to strike.

“The amount of change since 2010 that has been ill thought out is unbelievable.

“It’s a legitimate strike and we are sorry for the disruption.”

Cathal, a member of the NASUWT, said: “Teachers go on strike for two reasons - pay and pensions.

“Why am I taking a pay cut and the people that created this disaster are taking a pay rise?

“Teacher morale is low because it is being hammered.

“The danger or fear is that if schools move towards performance targets that headteachers can pay what they like and this is exactly what they will do.

“The government is selling performance pay to the public but they are in cloud cuckoo land.

“Most teachers will get paid less.

“Micheal Gove ( the education minister) has spent millions redrafting the school curriculum but yet he wants more and more schools to become academised where they can set their own curriculum.

“The strike is not just about pay its about the damage being done to education.”

A parent from Morecambe, who does not wish to be named, said: “We now have to make a request if we want to take our children out for holidays during term time and yet teachers can go on strike, which affects us because we have to take time off work to look after the kids,”

County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: “Schools are run by headteachers and governors, therefore they must decide how to react to the planned strike, based on the particular circumstances at their individual schools.

“The county council will, of course, offer support and advice about matters such as risk assessments, but these are routine issues for schools and it will be for headteachers to make their own decisions based on staffing numbers.”

The regional walkout is due to take place this Thursday, June 27.

The schools affected by the walkout are listed as follows on Lancashire City Council’s website:

Dolphinholme Church of England Primary School; Lancaster Central Lancaster High School; Morecambe and Heysham Morecambe Road School; Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School. Carnforth; Over Kellet Wilson’s Endowed Church of England Primary School; Overton St Helen’s Church of England Primary School; Skerton St Luke’s CofE Voluntary Aided Primary School; St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School. Lancaster; The Loyne Specialist School; Westgate Primary School and Children’s Centre.