Striking teachers out in force in Bray
SCHOOLS CLOSE DUE TO PROTEST AGAINST REFORM OF THE JUNIOR CERT
SECONDARY school students all over Bray had a somewhat unplanned day off from school yesterday as teachers went on strike.
Teachers in Bray joined members of teaching unions all over the country in picketing schools in protest of proposed changes to the Junior Certificate exam.
Under the proposed changes teachers are being asked to mark 40 per cent of their students’ course work for the state exam, a move which they feel compromises the credibility of the exam.
‘It would completely change the dynamic of the teacher pupil relationship,’ said Joe Kelly, ASTI Rep at St Kilian’s Community School. ‘We believe that it is a fair system which sees students assessed externally. It creates a level playing field for everyone and ensures that everything is done fairly.’
Joe said that teachers in Bray were out in force throughout the day, taking it in turns to picket the schools. ‘ The picket went very well,’ he said. ‘All the teachers turned up and did their bit, which is great. Also the overall vibe we’re getting from the parents is very supportive too. I think they understand our reason for striking.’
General Secretary of the ASTI, John White said: ‘ASTI members would prefer if they were teaching their classes but the solidarity of the support for the strike sends a message to the government that there is a fairer, better way than scapegoating teachers and public sector workers.’
In Bray, Mr Kelly also reserved a special thank you for SNAs who are represented by a different union, but refused to cross the picket line.
Further protests are planned for January, but negotiations are currently ongoing between the ASTI and the government.
‘We don’t really know what will happen,’ said Joe. ‘Everything could change overnight. All we do know is that more strikes are planned for January, but negotiations are ongoing, so hopefully it won’t come to that. For the moment, however, we are extremely happy with the support we have received here in Bray from teachers, parents and of course the SNAs who refused to cross the picket.’
Teachers protesting outside St Kilian’s Community School in Bray