Strikes by teachers have caused major disruption so far in 2023 and with many schools breaking up this week, could pupils and parents be faced with more industrial action?
But with the four education unions representing teachers and heads advising members to vote in favour of the latest offer from the government – which accepted the recommendation of the independent School Teachers’ Review Body – could more strikes still go ahead?
Let’s find out.
Could there be more teacher strikes?
There certainly won’t be any more strikes during the school year which is about to end (2022-23) as unions are obliged to give at least two weeks’ notice – and the summer term will be over by then.
But strikes could still go ahead from the autumn term in September.
The official NEU ballot on whether to accept the deal is running until July 28, but many teachers and heads have taken to social media arguing against accepting it, which offers:
- To fully implement the recommendations of the School Teachers Review Body (STRB) report, awarding a 6.5 per cent pay increase from 1 September on all pay points and allowances.
- To provide extra funding for schools to pay for it, amounting to £900m per annum.
- Guarantees that this extra money will not come from any frontline services, including Special Educational Needs (SEND) funding, schools’ capital, Maintained Nursery or 16-19 funding provision.
- A set of commitments – agreed with the Prime Minster – to take urgent measures to reduce teacher workload.
Some local branches of the National Education Union (NEU) including Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Birmingham and some parts of London – have broken ranks with the national union by recommending that their members reject the offer.
What have the unions said?
On the latest pay offer, Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the NEU – the largest teaching union – told The Guardian: ‘I’m not selling this as the best deal ever, but given the government we are dealing with, this is a real achievement and I’m very proud of our members.’
She added: ‘We are saying: “You can absolutely reject this, but that means committing to multiple days of strike action in the autumn term and the government still won’t budge.”
‘The action taken by NEU members around pay and funding has compelled the Government to now accept the STRB recommendation on teacher pay and to accept that it needs to be funded.’
She added: ‘No teacher wanted to be strike but equally no teacher could continue to stand by and see yet again their pay eroded, their school funding decimated, and their workload left unaddressed.
‘There is still much more to do to ensure that teachers are properly rewarded, workload reduced, and schools properly funded.
‘Should the offer be accepted by members, the NEU will continue campaigning and negotiating with the DfE to ensure improved working conditions for teachers and an improved education system for children and young people.’News TIOB News