Lecturers at Holy Cross College walked out in a dispute over pay.

The strike action was by members of the National Education Union (NEU) in response to an inadequate pay offer from the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA).

The pay offer is below inflation and NEU sixth form teachers are saying ‘enough is enough’ and are calling on the Secretary of State for Education to fully fund their pay demand of an inflation-plus rise.

Michelle Greaves, picket supervisor outside the college said: “Teachers haven’t had a decent pay rise and because of inflation increasing all the time they really haven’t had a pay increase for a decade, and it’s fallen behind.

“So, the majority of sixth form colleges have gone on strike.”

Only six people were allowed on the picket line outside the college unless they have them further afield so not everyone from the union were present.

Becca, a teacher at the college said: “We’ve got an amazing management team and they’re really supportive, it’s the government that we’re calling out.”

Michelle added: “This is the first day that we’re striking however if nothing changes, we will be looking at additional days.

“The college is closed to students, but staff are all in and there may be some lessons that will be done remotely.”

Responding to NEU’s strike action, Sixth Form Colleges Association Chief Executive Bill Watkin said: “Sixth form colleges recognise the extraordinary efforts made by teachers and support staff to look after young people throughout the Covid pandemic, and to continue providing a high-quality education in the face of enormous difficulties.

“Teachers’ and support staff salaries are being eroded, as energy costs and other inflationary pressures increase, but the government funds sixth form colleges at a lower level than schools, universities and other colleges, and sixth form colleges simply do not have the resources to meet demands for such a high pay rise.

“It is disappointing that a generation of young people, who had their education so disrupted by Covid, now risks losing yet more time in the classroom, on the sports field and with staff whose job is to support their mental health and emotional well-being.

“In spite of ongoing hardships and inadequate funding, colleges are determined to go on doing all that they can to provide a safe and stimulating environment for young people to come and learn together.”

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