A HEADTEACHER has thrown her support behind striking teachers saying: “Nobody wants to lose a day’s pay, but things have gone on long enough.”

The Mayflower Primary School, in Dovercourt, Harwich, had to close nine classes on Wednesday as 12 teaching staff members decided to down tools.

The demonstration was spearheaded by the National Education Union which is demanding a meaningful pay rise for its members across the country.

Concerns have also been raised over the impact reduced funding is having on students and the frequency at which new teachers are leaving the profession.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

The coastal school’s headteacher, Liz Bartholomew, was unable to attend a picket line due to not enough members in her union voting to strike.

Nonetheless, she has reassured staff they have her complete backing.

She said: “I absolutely support my striking teachers and, had my union met the threshold, I would be striking with them.

“Teachers have taken such a pay cut in real terms over the past few years and it simply can't go on.

“We simply have to do something to make the Government listen because we are undervalued and under increasing pressure to be anything but teachers.

“We are health workers, social workers, parents, counsellors, negotiators, organisers, investigators, role models, mentors... the list goes on.

“And to add insult to injury, when the Government did offer us a pay increase they didn't fund it, so I have had to reduce budgets that directly impact the classroom.”

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Although Mayflower Primary School was only able to keep four classes open due to the strike action, Mrs Bartholomew says she thinks parents back the cause.  

“Parents have been very supportive and I generally get the feeling a lot of them sympathise with our situation,” she added.

“No one wants to strike, no one wants to lose a day's pay to fight for a fair wage, but things have gone on long enough.”

Teachers across England and Wales will take part in another national strike on March 15 and 16 unless an agreement is reached.