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Sixth form college staff strike to save the colleges
Ian Pattison, East London Socialist Party
The National Education Union (NEU) warns that sixth-form colleges could disappear. Funding is £700 million short.
Teachers at 34 colleges were on strike on 12 February.
The impact of cuts cannot be underestimated. Teaching foreign languages has been hardest hit, while cuts to science, maths, technology and engineering are almost as severe.
Student support services - including vital mental-health care - and extra-curricular activities are being cut. Class sizes have increased in 81% of colleges.
Today there are half the number of sixth-form colleges there were in 1992, 15% fewer college teachers than 2010, and college workers' pay has dropped lower than schools.
On the picket line at Havering Sixth-Form College, NEU members thought they have been seen as an easy target for government cuts. But they are still determined to strike. Boris Johnson says 'austerity is over', so these workers want that to apply to colleges.
Staff at Havering College are also angry because the college has been hit by a form of academy privatisation. Worse contracts are being imposed on workers, it's the final straw. There could more strikes at this college very soon.