HUNDREDS of south Essex teachers headed to Cambridge to take part in a national protest after going on strike over pay and school funding.

The National Education Union held a protest in Parker’s Piece in Cambridge yesterday followed by a march through the city, with passionate teachers chanting and waving placards.

Murray Sackwild, Essex branch secretary at the National Education Union, said hundreds of teachers from Basildon, Southend and Castle Point made the journey to take a stand alongside teachers from up and down the country.

Dozens of south Essex schools were partially closed yesterday, with many only open to exam-age students and others only opening for vulnerable children or children of key workers.

It comes as up to 200,000 teachers walked out across the UK.

Murray Sackwild, Essex branch secretary and caseworker of the National Education Union, said: “Most Essex teachers joined the event in Cambridge and a few hundreds from south of the county attended.

“The atmosphere was excellent and we had speeches and talks too.

There was also a determination in the atmosphere as well to keep pushing the Government for them to take action.

“It was also a pleasant atmosphere and a nice one too. There was huge support from the workers but also from the public too.

“The public was clapping and taking our flags to wave them too.

I think it shows the support for the public sector workers from the public at the moment.

“There were lots of Southend schools shut and a few picket lines in the city.”

Laurie Burton, Labour councillor for children and learning and inclusion and a teacher at Rochford’s King John School was also on strike yesterday.

He said: “We’ve got a shortage of teachers and far too many are leaving the profession. The Government needs to take action.


“Striking is a last resort and it’s regrettable it’s got to this stage.

Lots of teachers will be conflicted but if the job issue is not solved the detriment to children’s learning will be greater.”

Tony Ball, Essex County Council cabinet member for educational excellence, lifelong learning and employability, said: “I am disappointed that some children and young people across Essex will have their education disrupted as a result of the decision to take unprecedented strike action, particularly so soon after the pandemic and the impact that has had.

“However, I recognise the economic climate which we are all facing. We hope negotiations between the NEU and the DfE will aim to prevent the need fo