Teachers across Darlington were out on the picket lines today and saying “enough is enough.”

The Northern Echo headed to St John’s Church of England Academy today (Wednesday, February 1) at 7:30am, and Darlington ska band, The Skapones, had everyone dancing to “A Message To You, Rishi.”

Roughly 25 teachers, parents and representatives from the National Education Union were braving the cold this morning to put forward their views on the issue of pay and working conditions.

Everyone we spoke to made it very clear that the strike was not “just about pay” but about “correcting historic real-terms pay cuts”, and working conditions.

Read more: Teacher strikes LIVE: Staff in North East and North Yorkshire schools walk out over pay

Teacher Clare McAdams, said: “I feel great that I can use my voice to say what I’m passionate about which is teaching and children’s education. So I’m using my voice to say please fund education fairly.

“It’s about parents and children standing together to support education funding.”

Parent Amanda Riley said: “I’m a parent and as time goes on the funding is just getting tighter and tighter, and these teachers deserve their pay rises but it needs to be funded properly or we’re just going to lose all the support services that families rely on so much.

“It’s good to have the support of others because everyone cares about the education of children, everyone’s affected by it. We’ve all got children. We’ve all got nieces and nephews. It matters. It matters for the future of our children and our families and we’ve got these great teachers who have made a really difficult decision to strike today. On behalf of our children, we need to stand with them.”

The Northern Echo: Teachers on the picket line outside St John's Church of England Academy in DarlingtonTeachers on the picket line outside St John's Church of England Academy in Darlington (Image: Aja Dodd, Newsquest)

Read more: LIVE: List of North East schools set to close on teachers' strike day

Marco Ramsay, head teacher at St John's Church of England Academy, said: “I'm in support of the strikes. The strain put on teachers currently is not sustainable. Children are facing huge challenges with mental health at the moment and teachers are not given enough resources and schools aren't being given enough funding to sustain the work we do. I sympathise with parents about any inconvenience caused but we need to remember why teachers are doing this.”

Roughly 20 staff members from Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington were on the picket line from 8:30am.

Teachers chanted: “What do we want? Pay justice! When do we want it? Now!”

Giles Bayliss, teacher and union member, said: “40 per cent of teachers are leaving the profession within 10 years and that’s because of poor working conditions. All teachers go into this profession because they care and want to make a difference. We don’t think a pay rise for teachers should come out of an existing budget, education should just be funded fairly so that teachers don’t have real-terms pay cuts.”

The Northern Echo: Teachers on the picket line outside Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in DarlingtonTeachers on the picket line outside Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington (Image: Aja Dodd, Newsquest)

Read more: Everything parents need to know as thousands of teachers strike from today

Steven McGarvie, music teacher and union member said: “Enough is enough. Teachers do incredible work with an ever-decreasing wage packet and an ever-increasing workload. It is high time teachers and learners were valued more by this Government and society as a whole.”

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Dominic McArdle, union member and teacher of philosophy and politics, said: “We need to protect the education sector. We’ve faced 12 years of pay cuts. The Government has got to negotiate with us and understand how teachers feel.”

Paul Hesleton, English teacher and union member, said: “The Government needs to understand why teachers teach, we want to make a difference. We can change lives and it’s a very rewarding job but our pay and working conditions need to reflect that.”

Tim Fisher, principal at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, said: “Whilst it is always regrettable when the education of young people is interrupted, it is also very important that we listen carefully to any concerns about the funding of vital public services.”