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LECTURERS at dozens of sixth-form colleges staged a fifth day of strike action yesterday as part of their fight for increased funding.
Members of the National Education Union at 35 sixth-form colleges and 16-19 education academies are also seeking improved pay and employment conditions.
But their main demand is for the government to use the forthcoming Budget to plug the £700 million shortfall in its current education strategy.
NEU joint general secretary Mary Bousted said that 16-19 education “has suffered brutally under successive Conservative governments, and the funding increases announced before the election fall at least £700m short of what is needed.
“The trajectory is unchanged: jobs are being cut, class sizes are rising and pay is falling. Striking is always a last resort, but our members know that the future of the sector is at threat and it is students’ education that will continue to suffer.”
At a rally in Parliament Square, several hundred strikers were addressed by senior trade unionists and Labour politicians, including shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.
Ms Rayner accused the government of treating workers “disgracefully,” saying: “Your pay should be levelled up to where other teachers’ pay is in secondary education.
“If I was your education secretary, not your shadow education secretary, that’s what you would have with me.
“You would be in the classroom, being able to deliver the support for the pupils that you look after. I promise you that.”
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