THERE was "solid support" for teachers and education staff at a rally held in Crediton Town Square earlier today, Thursday, April 27.
Despite torrential rain, more than 50 people attended to support the rally, including teachers from many schools across the county, including Queen Elizabeth’s in Crediton and Okehampton Community College.
The event was held to send a message to Central Devon MP Mel Stride, who is a member of the Conservative Government Cabinet.
It took place from 11am to 12 noon and was held to tell the Government that it needs to address school staff concerns to tackle the failure to recruit and retain staff.
It was organised by the Devon National Education Union and Michael Gurney, secretary, explained: “We have had 50 people here today, some from Queen Elizabeth’s School in Crediton, from Okehampton and other schools across the county.
“The rain has depressed the numbers of supporters we had attending but we have had solid support from members of the public who have taken some of our postcards which send a message to the Government.
“A total of 98 per cent of our members recently rejected the offer the Government made of a lump sum because it didn’t address issues of poor pay and would have led to more cuts in schools.
“Yesterday (April 26), a report said that class sizes in schools have increased in primary and secondary schools.
“That is as a result of cuts which schools are facing.
“Locally we are losing Teaching Assistants jobs because of a lack of funding.
“We are campaigning because of the poor pay and lack of school funding.
“In addition, the Government is missing recruitment targets in schools by 40 per cent.
“While we are here in Crediton today, there is a similar rally taking place at Barnstaple.
“We have more rallies taking place across the county very soon.”
The postcard, which members of the public were encouraged to take and send to Mel Stride read on the front “Greetings from Central Devon” and showed a picture of Crediton High Street from Union Terrace.
The postcard reads: “A Message to the Government
• Schools need additional government funding and they need it now
• 1 in 8 secondary children taught by a non-specialist
• New trainee teacher targets missed again creating a significant teacher shortage
• 40 per cent of teachers leave in the first five years
It is therefore essential to ensure any pay award is fully funded centrally by the Government.”
The card says please sign the NUE’s MP Pledge on the NEU website and send your commitment to this to the Chancellor.