Recently, Brighton has seemed to be demonstration central. There have been trains strikes from both Southern Union members to commuters, to Remainers to Leavers. It has been a really busy month in the Brighton bubble.
There was another strike today, but instead of it being over train timetables it was over knowledge.
Strikes took place all over the country today as the biggest teachers union campaigned for better wages and more secure funding for schools. Bristol, London and Manchester all had big turnouts – but Brighton’s strike is noted for the level of parental support given.
Today, nearly a thousand people came out to give support to the hundreds of Brighton and Hove teachers who were striking for better pay, more funding to local schools and against privatising education. The support generated was a demonstration of the power of the Brighton public that want to stand together against the “erosion” of education.
It is clear that the strike itself was not obsessed with wages; it was instead a platform to talk about wider issues surrounding the education of children in Brighton. The issues in hand are regarding the process of changing schools into academies and funding, with many fearing the worst of cuts to schools. The support came in great numbers despite the headache that the day could bring to working parents.
Teachers, children and parents all made the walk from Palmeira Square to the Level today wielding banners and signs to show their support for the cause. At their final destination there was a picnic as well as several speeches detailing the need for unity.
As a result of the demonstration today up to 159 schools were shut, meaning thousands of children were out off school. This inevitably causes disruption to working parents, but it seems as though hundreds took the opportunity to join in the march. The National Union of Teachers argue that today’s strike is a reminder to MP’s to “think of the children”. The rally spoke about the importance of keeping funding for educational institutions, with strong support coming from parents in Brighton.
Teaching will resume tomorrow as normal.