Brent teachers stage an orderly strike

 

The day started shortly after 7.30am for the dedicated band of pickets.

The teachers had chosen to picket Brentfield primary school, in Brent, north-west London, for their action.

It was open for one thing and most of the schools  in the borough were closed. No point in standing in the freezing cold  in front of an already empty building.

Also, they accused the headteacher of putting pressure on staff to withdraw their names from a list of those planning to go on strike today – though the school was not responding to calls about that today.

The scene was largely peaceful - and the pickets polite.

They did not persuade any staff to join the strike although Jean Roberts, an executive member of the moderate Association of Teachers and Lecturers who teaches in the neighbouring borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, insisted the idea behind it was just to draw attention to teachers at the school that there was a strike.

No repeat of 1980's-style militancy there, then.

According to Shane Johnschwager, a secondary school teacher in Brent, Brentfield was not typical of elsewhere.

“It is a very well-supported strike,” he said.  “The vast majority of schools have been shut.”

It ended just as peacefully as it began shortly after 8.45am with all the staff and children in school and the teachers off to the pub. For a rally rather than a drink.

Teachers being teachers, it was an orderly occasion.  They were told upon arrival  by the organiser that  “tea and coffee is free - you have to pay for alcohol”.  There were few takers for the hard stuff.

It led to Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, claiming a first.  “This is the earliest I have ever been in a pub and it’s nice to have a new experience,” she told the assembled troops.

Next it was an opportunity for teachers of an artistic bent to shine.  “”There are banners and pens in the corner if you want to make  placards,” said the organiser.

Then came the speeches.

“When headteachers and college principals and senior civil servants go out on strike, you really have a problem,” said Peter Pendle, deputy general Secretary of the ATL, whose members have never taken strike action in their 127-year period.

Chris Lines, president of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, attempted to put his feelings over the pensions issue in perspective.

“It took a few years for my visceral hatred of the Thatcher government to kick in.  Cameron’s done in it just a year.”

With that, they were off either to a bigger rally in central London  or just to go their own way.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world