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Parents back striking teachers
AROUND 90 people, including about 35 parents and 40 kids from Mayville school in east London, crowded into a local community hall for a lively meeting convened by the National Union of Teachers on 8 March.
Linda Taaffe, Waltham Forest NUT
We discussed alarming issues raised by the recent teachers' strike. The dispute about teachers being forced to re-apply for their jobs was clearly just the tip of the iceberg.
Catherine, an active parent who had initiated a petition, explained how parents' concerns had been growing over a long period, particularly on staff turnover. Teachers and support staff were constantly leaving and parents were not getting a reasonable explanation.
A learning mentor, who had left the school, called the management: "a barrier to learning". A parent who was one of several generations who had attended Mayville had never known such problems.
However, parents praised the teachers who were soldiering on. The meeting's mood was tremendous. Even the kids sat relatively quietly munching the crisps and biscuits provided! The striking teachers' spirits were lifted.
The NUT rep at the school and the local secretary explained that, since there was no response from management so far we would be seeking further strikes - this time for two or three days. We would be asking for parent support.
Everyone was keen to write protest letters and form a parents' action group. Parents said they would definitely join us on the picket line. They had had enough. Although one parent had an even better idea; why shouldn't the head and deputy re-apply for their jobs too!
New member Julie Haley, a nursery assistant at Mayville school, sold 22 copies of the socialist issue 430, to colleagues in the school.
In The Socialist 16 March 2006: