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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us