School teachers and staff joined a picket line in Newquay on Thursday as part of a national protest against pay, conditions and funding.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) at Newquay Tretherras held placards and waved banners, which stated ‘Fund schools fairly’ and ‘Save Our Schools.’

They revealed Newquay Tretherras has lost more than £400,000 out of its £8million annual Government budget to be able to provide a 5% pay award, which they argue should have come from the Government rather than out of student’s education resources.

Teaching unions across England and Scotland, including the NEU, are in dispute with the Department for Education regarding their request for teachers’ pay to keep up with inflation and the cost of living in a fully-funded pay rise. 

The picket line outside Newquay Tretherras received dozens of beeps of support from passing motorists.

Teachers join the picket line (Warren Wilkins)

Phil Strugnell, the head of art at Tretherras, said: “What people do not realise is that we are striking for a fully funded pay rise.

“What that means in real terms is that we have had a 5% pay award but the Government has not paid for that.

“That cost the school £412,000 out of a £8m school budget a year. 

“That money should be going to the children’s education resources and for teaching assistants etc.”

George Butterworth, a media and film studies teacher, added: “One hundred and one thousand teachers under 40 left the teaching profession in the last five years.

“That shows two things. One is that a lot of money is provided for subsidised education training.

“The other is that teachers who go into the profession want to provide a good quality education but what they find is a broken system.

“That is why they cannot hack it at this moment in time.

“I have been here for 12 years and in that time my contact time with students has gone up.

“I have watched teachers become redundant, support staff made redundant and my real time pay has dropped by 20%.

“It is difficult to have a conversation about money but we striking not just about money in our pockets it is about making sure the profession is able to recruit good quality graduates and retain its best staff.

“If you look at any public sector service over the past 10 years all have been hit but teachers have lost more pay percentage than any other public service.”

Media and Film teacher George Butterworth underlines the reasons for the strike action (Warren Wilkins)

Mike Tench, a Maths teacher at Newquay Tretherras, said: “I think an example of how things are is we cannot recruit maths teachers despite arguably Cornwall being the best part of the country to live in.

“Why would that be. Factors are pay, conditions and funding. These are the reasons we are taking this strike action.”

The National Education Union intend to take formal industrial action again on Wednesday, March 15 and Thursday, March 16.

Teachers attend the picket line (Warren Wilkins)