A GROUP of staff from Cowley International College picketed outside the school this morning as part of today’s National Union of Teachers strike.

Up to 32 schools in the borough have closed today due to the strikes with a further 16 partially open, including Cowley which is only open to sixth form students.

The strike across England and Wales is being held due to changes to teachers' pay, pensions and conditions, with five other public sector unions also striking.

Teachers have seen a government pay freeze along with the pension age being raised to 68.

The Department of Education has condemned the strikes stating that there was no justification behind them.

“We’re raising the issue of the pay fall in public sector workers in relation to inflation. We feel the Government is looking to discredit public sector,” said Cowley English teacher Debs Gwynn.

“It’s not just about pay for teachers, it’s also the workload which is not beneficial for students. We now have to justify everything we do and that’s really not helping the students.

“If nothing comes out of this and there’s no movement we’ll have to look at doing two or three day strikes.

“The money is out there. I am highly critical of the current government although at the moment I don’t feel Labour is offering any alternatives.”

Maths teacher Martin Fearn added: “We’d like Mr (Michael Gove) to listen to what we have got to say. This is about a range of things, pay, pensions, performance-related pay and workload – we hope he will listen to us.”

Union members from Unison, Unite, GMB, Public and Commercial Services Union and The Fire Brigade Union are also on strike today.