The leader of Suffolk County Council’s Labour group has come under attack for attending a teachers’ strike rally in Ipswich this week.

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Councillor Sandy Martin declined to say whether he supported the NUT strike over pay and pensions, but did join over 100 teachers on Ipswich’s Cornhill where he delivered a speech.

Teachers are in dispute with the Government over the introduction of a performance-related pay structure and a tougher pension package which would see them received their pension at the age of 67.

However the Conservative leader of the council, Mark Bee, said he was “appalled” at the decision by Mr Martin, to “stand in line with teachers who are denying children a much-needed day of education”.

He continued: “Last week he was expressing his concerns about our young people’s education. Less than a week later, and he’s out on the picket line supporting teachers who are acting in their own interest and against the interest of children across Suffolk.

“It’s clear that councillor Martin has little concern for hard-pressed parents who had to take a day off work or pay for extra childcare.”

Mr Martin has dismissed the criticisms and said: “I’m not a member of the NUT.

“But I do think that a lot of damage that is being done to education at the moment with free schools being started up in places where they aren’t needed, siphoning money off from other schools which need it, teachers being demoralised, the curriculum changing at the whim of the secretary of state and nobody being sure of how stringent the exams will be from one year to the next.

“All of these are really serious issues and parents are very concerned. The amount of damage being done by this is far greater than one day of strike.”

4 comments

  • Mark Bee - you have absolutely NOTHING to do with education, you aren't involved in it whatsoever so what gives you the credentials to criticise Sandy Martin, a man who is 100% spot on with the concerns that teachers have? Just because you attended school in the past, or you have children at school means that you know what is happening with education on a day to day basis? I wonder whether you would be so quick to wade in if the argument affected barristers, or doctors where you are equally as unqualified? You should be the one that is ashamed because Sandy Martin seems to be the only person that isn't a teacher, or educationalist that is talking sense amid all the complete nonsense that the public is peddled day in and day out. He shouldn't have to justify himself to you, you should have to justify your complete ignorance about education. You say that one day of school is the most important thing. I would argue that you consider balancing short term loss with long term gain. If young adults are having a worse quality of life because the education secretary is trashing the system then I'm sure that the one day of school would pale into insignificance. How short sighted can you be? Stop trying to treat the symptoms of the problem (slamming teachers) and start being a part of the solution (by challenging Gove about his harebrained reforms - which research proves is damaging).

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    IpswichResident

    Saturday, March 29, 2014

  • Councillor Bee, i think if you check Ofsted reports it is actually your administration that is denying our children education

    Report this comment

    dale craven

    Friday, March 28, 2014

  • Exactly Dale. The sheer nerve of the man making a comment like that.

    Report this comment

    Esco Fiasco

    Saturday, March 29, 2014

  • Oh and with regards to performance related pay, it's just another way to cut costs. There's nothing left in the pot to pay for computers, or renovate parts of the school that are in dire need of it, so effective pay freezes will help keep a lid on costs. How is the performance related pay even measured? Is it based on A*-C results? What about if you have a class with all D-G students where they are set based on ability? Would it be based on how close you came to their targets? What is the targets aren't accurate? What if the education secretary tells the qualification board to 'modify' grade boundaries again? Should it be based on whether lessons are taught at an outstanding, or good level? What about when kids need emotional support, do you get paid £5 per crying child that you comfort? It's like making a vicar work on performance related pay, it's an altruistic calling, rather than a bunch of factory workers on a production line. Research has showed that applying the model to education doesn't work. If people wanted to earn good money they would have gone and worked in the city earning decent money rather than teaching - Michael Gove is preaching to the wrong crowd. Square shapes don't fit into star shaped holes, no matter how much rejigging you do. I doubt anyone will understand or care about anything I've written because they are too busy being annoyed at teachers. Let's just carry on calling them lazy and greedy, that's worked great for the last few years and I'm sure will carry on. Ignorance is bliss and all that.

    Report this comment

    IpswichResident

    Saturday, March 29, 2014

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