A ‘COMPLETE overhaul’ of the education system is needed for ‘underpaid and overworked’ teachers in Barnsley, as staff went on strike for two days this week.

A number of schools closed their gates for kids this week during strike action - as dozens of teachers travelled down to the capital to take part in the ‘biggest rally in decades’.

As part of a nationwide strike - the third and fourth in Barnsley in recent months - pupils were told to work from home due to the strike.

Teachers are fighting for better pay and better funding for schools across the borough, and a recent poll by the National Education Union shows parents are backing their concerns.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “While no teacher wants to be on strike action we are grateful for the support of parents, and do not take it for granted.

“Many understand first-hand the issues faced by schools and colleges and their children’s teachers.

“They need no persuasion that there is disruption every day of the school year, thanks to the government’s poor decision-making and short-sighted policies on education.

“The government’s continued stonewalling of talks will not improve their standing among parents and the general public.

“We need to see a substantive offer that will address the issues which are eroding this essential public service.”

Teachers went on strike both yesterday and on Wednesday, and assistant secretary of the Barnsley branch Fran Postlethwaite is in support of those taking action.

She told the Chronicle: “Like so many public service workers, wages have been held down since 2010.

“The education service is struggling.

“Teachers are being underpaid and overworked.

“The vote to strike against was very solid - and the last strike action was very effective in terms of the repercussions.

“A group has gone down to a national demonstration in London and picket lines were outside schools on Thursday.

“I’m extremely supportive of what the teachers are doing.”

Following the announcement of strike action, a number of people questioned the morality of it due to hundreds of pupils losing access to in-person learning throughout the pandemic.

But Fran said the strike action is nothing compared to the cuts the education sector has faced in recent years.

She added: “There’s a myth that goes around that teachers did nothing in the pandemic.

“That’s not true as they worked twice as hard.

“They had to do online lessons and a number of pupils were still going into the schools - they had to teach both sets.

“In regards to a loss of education because of the strikes, losing one or two days is nothing compared to the overcrowding and underfunding that’s affecting the system.

“We need to completely overhaul the education system.

“Do we just let the whole system go down, or do we fight to make things better for the children?”