A system in crisis, that is how one teacher described the education system as hundreds of teachers in the Vale went on strike, including in Penarth.

Teachers have taken strike action in what is being described as the biggest day of disruption in a decade.

Along with teachers; bus drivers, train drivers, security staff and university lecturers are all walking out on their jobs, today, February 1.

Mairead Canavan, Executive member for the NEU and secretary for the Vale of Glamorgan, was at the picket line outside Ysgol y Deri this morning.

She said the government have not been negotiating seriously.

“They need to come to the table and negotiate properly,” said Mairead. “Teachers are worried about the cost of living crisis, they cannot afford to put fuel in their cars, cannot afford to pay their bills or mortgages, you need to come to the table because it's just not appropriate not to negotiate.”

Penarth Times:

(Teachers went on the picket line at Ysgol y Deri in Penarth)

Penarth Times:

(Teachers have said enough is enough, describing falling standards in the education profession)

Jonathan Coombes, a drama teacher in Barry, said the system was in crisis and would grind to a halt if something was not done.

On a chilly morning outside Pencoedtre High, Mr Coombes said: “We cannot retain teachers, new teachers are coming into the profession then leaving after two years, we are losing support staff. The state of education will grind to a halt in the next 10 years if something is not done.”

His colleague Alexandra Williams made the shocking admission that several of her staff are having to use food banks in order to support themselves.

“Several staff members are on food banks because they cannot afford their bills,” said Ms Williams.

She went on to call out the government.

“Do the right thing and help us out,” added Ms Williams. “Give us a fair deal. Our children are important, this is about them and they deserve the best.”

Penarth Times:

(Teachers were on the picket line at Barry's Pencoedtre High)

Penarth Times:

(Jonathan Coombes and Alexandra Williams made the explosive claim that collegaues are having to live off food banks)

They wrapped up in woolly hats and scarfs, and despite the cold weather and early start – teachers were on picket lines in the county from as early as 7am, voices were loud, with music and chanting, and even drums beating.

There were also some furry supporters on the lines, including Lester the Labrador and Ted the Cockapoo

It was Ted’s owner Bethan Jones, of Gladstone Primary, Barry, who had a simple message for the government.

“Pay up and support our schools and our children,” said Ms Jones.

“This is about so much more than just pay. We are striking for a fully funded education system because we think the system is in crisis.”

Penarth Times:

(Bethan Jones said she loved her job and did not want to strike)

Watch our Facebook live as we went on the picket line with teachers at Ysgol y Deri.

Watch the video below and see the impassioned plea from Gladstone Primary teacher Bethan Jones.


After talks collapsed between the unions and government the final day before the strikes, in the latest statement, Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan said she was hugely disappointed that unions were taking strike action.

“I am listening to teachers and I have met with unions many times,” said Ms Keegan. “We are working on a range of issues including pay, workload, flexible working and behaviour. I have been very clear unions do not have to strike and I am very disappointed they are taking strike action.”

And it’s not over! Currently, teachers intend to go on strike on February 14, and March 15 and 16.

Support the right to strike, or is it workers being greedy? Are you with or against the teachers? Has your day been affected by the strikes? If so how (home schooling again)? Let us know in comments or on our Facebook page.