Sixth form teachers strike after government challenge fails


Teachers at English sixth form colleges are striking today over funding cuts, after the High Court yesterday rejected the government’s claim that the strike is illegal.

The government tried to prevent the strikes from going ahead at the last minute by arguing it was unlawful, saying it was not a trade dispute according to the law, but instead a strike based on political grounds.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are striking due to concerns that education services for those aged 16 to 19 years is facing a “severe funding crisis”.

The union carried out a ballot last month, with a turnout of 44 per cent from the 93 sixth form colleges in England. 86 per cent of them voted in favour of striking.

The deputy general secretary for the NUT, Kevin Courtney, said: “Sixth form colleges provide a vital service to over 150,000 young people, many from disadvantaged backgrounds. Yet government funding cuts mean many of those services will soon be financially unviable. The cuts will result in a further loss of courses, job losses and increased class sizes.”

“The NUT has been left with no option but to raise awareness of the problem through industrial action,” he continued.

There is a real risk of sixth form colleges closing, according to the NUT, if under-funding from the government is not dealt with soon.

“The NUT is seeking to disrupt the education of thousands of students and damage the reputation of the profession,” a spokesperson for the Department for Education said. “We are disappointed with the court’s decision and are considering our options.”