Teachers‘ strikes: Will there be more?

Teachers‘ strikes: Will there be more?

PA Media Members of the National Education Union take part in a rally through Westminster as teachers stage walkouts across England.PA Media

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) have voted to hold a formal strike ballot if they reject this summer’s pay offer.

Teacher strikes took place across the UK last year over pay, including eight days of walkouts by NEU members in England.

The four teaching unions in the dispute with the government in England accepted an offer last July, but are continuing to campaign for pay rises in the next school year.

Are more strikes planned?

No more full strikes are planned at this stage, although the threat of future action has not been ruled out.

The Department for Education (DfE) has called the threat of another strikes ballot "extremely disappointing".

NASUWT members decided overwhelmingly against having a new formal ballot on more industrial action over pay and working conditions this year.

ASCL halted its strike ballot after accepting the government’s pay offer last summer, and has held no further ballots or had any sort of industrial action since then.

The NAHT has also not held another ballot.

They also called for "significant improvements" on workload, saying that was also needed to address problems recruiting and retaining teachers.

Each year, the independent School Teachers‘ Review Body (STRB) hears submissions from each side and makes recommendations on teacher pay to the government, who ultimately decide on how much to award.

But the unions called for the STRB to recommend "urgent significant additional investment" in schools.

Long-running action ended on 17 November after NAHT members accepted a new workload agreement along with an improved pay offer and additional funding.

Members had been restricting their hours since February 2023 in a dispute with Wales’s 22 local councils.

The Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) has since submitted a claim for a pay rise of 6.5% to the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers, which represents schools, councils and the Scottish government.

The pay offer will see starting salaries rise to £30,000 and represents a cumulative total rise of 10.4%, plus a £1,000 increase to other teachers and leadership pay scales.

A meeting of the Teachers‘ Negotiating Committee to ratify the deal is expected to see an end to the campaign of industrial action which has been ongoing since 2022.

Will my child’s school close if strikes happen?

Although none are currently planned, schools in England should open where possible in the event of a teachers‘ strike, the government says.

Teachers do not have to declare in advance if they intend to strike, and there are no rules about when parents must be told about school closures.

Head teachers take a decision on whether to shut schools. Some parents may only be told about a closure on the morning of industrial action, once staff numbers are known.

Under new minimum service level proposals due to come into force by September, unions will have to ensure schools in England stay open on strike days – but the unions have called the new rules "undemocratic".

Can parents take time off, and what else do you need to know?

In England, you can ask for leave to care for "family and dependants", including emergency childcare.

Your employer must not refuse a reasonable request, but you may not be paid. Alternatively you may be able to take holiday or unpaid parental leave.

Schools are asked to prioritise vulnerable pupils and key workers‘ children during strikes. They are also asked to try to prevent, or reduce, any disruption to exams and other formal assessments.

The NEU issued guidance to support arrangements for head teachers to "provide the minimum level of teaching staff needed" on strike days so students who had exams coming up could attend school.

How much are teachers paid?

Classroom teachers were paid an average of £38,982 in the 2021-22 school year in England, £39,009 in Wales and £40,026 in Scotland. Northern Ireland did not provide a figure.

The average head teacher salary in England for the same period was £74,095, and £57,117 for other senior leaders.

Experts advise ministers about teacher pay, based on factors such as vacancy rates and subject shortages.

As with all public spending, money allocated in England is awarded proportionately to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Employers also contribute 23.68% to teacher pensions. Nurses, by comparison, receive 14.38%.

Title: Teachers‘ strikes: Will there be more?
URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/education-63283289
Source: BBC – Homepage
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Date: April 15, 2024 at 07:38AM
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