Colleges ready for walkout

Winstanley College

Winstanley College

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Sixth form colleges are braced for a potential teachers’ walk-out today but say they do not expect lessons to be disrupted.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) saw members vote for a day of industrial action over cuts and inadequate funding, with particular concerns for the most disadvantaged students.

Teachers are not being paid as well and students are suffering. The results these colleges get are fantastic and they are also an important steppping stone to university and independence

Max Atkins

Winstanley College said up to 30 members of its 100-strong teaching team could be involved in the walk-out but it would not know until this morning if any staff did not show up for work.

However, the college also said it would be open as usual and did not think the NUT action would have any effect on students’ learning.

St John Rigby College said yesterday afternoon it had not managed to confirm if any members of staff would be taking part in the strike but as far as it was aware it would be unaffected.

Strike action could also hit Wigan and Leigh College, but Wigan UTC, The Deanery High School and Sixth Form and Astley St Mary’s RC High School are not affected.

The NUT saw 1,689 members vote to strike, with 86 per cent of those questioned in favour of action on a turnout of 44 per cent, and the union’s Wigan secretary Max Atkins says the move is timely.

Mr Atkins said: “It is justified and long overdue. The sector has been having excessive cuts, more even than primary and secondary schools, over the last few years and it has got to the stage where it is becoming unmanageable.

“Teachers are not being paid as well and students are suffering. The results these colleges get are fantastic and they are also an important steppping stone to university and independence.

“They are also vital in terms of the social aspect and increasing the maturity of the students, who don’t have to wear uniforms and are treated more like adults.”

The action is intended to put pressure on education minister Nicky Morgan, with the union claiming sixth form colleges are in danger of disappearing altogether after cuts of 14 per cent in real terms.