Strik­ing teach­ers out in force in Bray

SCHOOLS CLOSE DUE TO PROTEST AGAINST RE­FORM OF THE JU­NIOR CERT

Bray People - - NEWS - By PADRAIG BYRNE

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

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