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Britain's biggest education union backs pro-Gaza marches after Education Secretary's criticism

THE National Education Union (NEU) backed pro-Gaza marches at its annual conference yesterday, with union president Emma Rose praising members who have joined weekly demonstrations calling for an end to the bloodshed.

In her address to delegates in Bournemouth, she said: “I want to pay tribute to the many NEU members up and down the country who have also been taking part in peaceful protests, week after week, making our voices heard, standing in solidarity with the Palestinians, calling for a ceasefire.”

Ms Rose said she was proud that the NEU “has international solidarity at its core” and that it knew that solidarity “must be an action we undertake.”

Delegates applauded as she added: “I am also proud that we have added our name to the many around the world, including the United Nations and our Foreign Secretary, who are calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.”

Ms Rose’s comment came after Education Secretary Gillian Keegan criticised the union over a motion to be debated at the annual conference which describes Israel’s government as “racist” and “guilty of apartheid policies.”

In her speech, she also hit out at ministers who “have facilitated a culture of low trust and respect for our expertise,” warning that “the reality for far too many of us at the moment is that we simply can’t be the educators we want to be in the current system.

“We are the ones having to teach a curriculum that isn’t fit for purpose, that is rigid, inflexible, dull and uninspiring and in which far too many of our children don’t see themselves represented,” the NEU president said.

“We are the ones who see the impact that toxic testing has on children.”

Ms Rose fought back tears as she thanked members for their “love, warmth, solidarity and support” following the loss of her parents last year.

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