Hundreds of teachers gathered at a rally in Exeter yesterday to discuss what they describe as a “crisis in education”.
An estimated 300 people attended the rally at Sidwell Street Methodist Church to express their anger over changes to pay and conditions amid fears that the government's attack on education is damaging morale.
Among the hundreds gathered were some 20 teachers who had travelled from North Devon.
Dave Clinch, a former teacher at Ilfracombe Academy, a retired NUT member and former Devon NUT Secretary, was at the event.
He said: “ The rally was called by the NUT and the NASUWT to promote our joint action against the coalition government attacks on the teaching profession.
“It is a precursor to strike action on October 17 because of the failure of the ConDem coalition to listen to the concerns of teaching profession. It is part of a programme of rolling strike action across the country.
“Money from central government which should be identified for community schools and colleges is being redirected to academies and so-called 'Free Schools', (described as 'profligate spending' by the NUT General Secretary, Christine Blower) which are unwanted and are a threat to the jobs of teachers in state schools.
“It was made clear at the rally that not only are we defending teachers' pay and conditions but also the curriculum, which we believe, unlike Mr Gove, should be broad and balanced.
“A student from Okehampton Community College, Elijah Kellman said 'It is not what's in your pocket that counts but what is in your mind'.
“Changing the status of schools with cash incentives does not improve the quality of education.”
Mr Clinch added: “The rally was a great success, a clarion call for action by the two leading teaching unions, the NUT and the NASUWT, following the failure of an ideologically bound government, in the shape of the bullying Michael Gove, to listen to the critical concerns of the teaching profession.”