'˜Enough is enough' as hundreds join Lancaster protest march
Hundreds of teachers, parents and children took part in a colourful march through Lancaster to protest against government spending cuts.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) from Lancaster, Preston, Blackburn-with-Darwen and Blackpool led the march on Tuesday July 5 which started in Dalton Square and concluded with a rally in Market Square.
Children carried banners saying “enough is enough”, “no to more testing” and “stop the SATs”, while others attending chanted “no ifs, no buts, we don’t want your funding cuts”.
Motorists and members of the public in the city beeped their horns and cheered them on as they made their way around the one way system.
Around 29 schools in Lancashire took part in the protest, most of which were closed for the day.
Siobhan Collingwood, headteacher at Morecambe Bay School, said the government’s eight per cent reduction in education spending will mean increased class sizes, less individual attention for children, fewer subject choices, and cuts to teaching and support staff.
“We’re here because we’ve decided enough is enough,” she said.
“It’s time to work with parents and teachers to say that the government has to start listening about the very real concerns we all have.
“Eight per cent cuts impact on class sizes and resources.
“Pay and conditions for teachers is disappearing.
“We have shambolic testing which are failing children and creating an increase in mental health issues.
“The government is just not listening.
“Education secrataries are not teachers and educationalists.
“They’re trying to drive a wedge between parents and teachers, but we want better for our children.”
Mrs Collingwood said the large turnout showed the depth of anger.
She added: “This is part of a programme of discontinous action. Until the government start listening to us, there will be further action.
“Children trust their teachers and they know we have their best interests at heart.
“It does them a huge amount of good to see their children standing up for them.”
Another teacher, who did not wish to be named said: “It’s not about my pay, about the children and what is happening to them and their mental health.
“When you have bright children breaking down in tears at having to sit a test, you know things aren’t right.
“A lot of teachers have taken every possible course of action before making the decision to strike.
“Giving up our weekends to go and speak to members of the public, the Easter marches.
“There’s a lot that has happened before we got to this point, but the government is still not listening.”
The NUT says schools are facing the biggest education cuts in a generation, and are already under severe financial strain.