'Desperate' teachers set to strike as many are 'leaving in droves' risking school closures


Britain’s largest teaching union, the National Education Union (NEU) has figures to suggest that nine in ten teachers support going on strike. This research is based on the initial responses from a preliminary survey the organisation set out on September 24. 

The NEU sent the survey to the union’s 450,000 members, and there are still two weeks left to run.

However, an inside source with the union has suggested that it is very likely the teacher’s union will now hold a formal vote for industrial action, and strikes may happen before the Christmas break. 

It is expected a formal ballot will take place as early as November, but may be delayed until January due to postal strikes. 

The joint General Secretary for the NEU Mary Bousted, said: “Teachers do not want to strike but they are desperate and leaving the profession in droves.

“Striking is their last resort; they are a statement that things cannot go on like this.”

In July, it was announced by the Department of Education that teachers would receive a five percent rise in wages next year, and newly qualified teachers would receive a 8.9 percent rise.

However, the offer is below inflation and teachers are asking for a wage increase above inflation, which they say is needed because their pay has fallen by a fifth since 2010.

Some school leaders have said that teachers, as well as other members of school staff, are struggling to heat their homes and are having to use food banks. 

Headmasters have also warned that schools are struggling to stay open five days a week due to financial costs because of the rise in energy bills and the rise in the number of students who need free school meals due to the cost of living crisis. 

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Britain’s second largest teaching union, the NASUWT, will also be holding a striking ballot in the upcoming months.

In their own conducted survey, the union found that 8,750 teachers responded and 72 percent said the pay award should be rejected. 

The Association of School and College (ASCL), also found that half of the responders wished to vote on a strike after a survey was conducted.

Dr Patrick Roach, the General Secretary for the ASCL, sent out letters to ministers that they would continue with a vote unless there was an increased pay offer. 

He said: “Our members are traditionally extremely reluctant to consider any form of industrial action, and it is therefore remarkable that a majority of survey respondents favour an indicative ballot on action short of strike action, let alone the fact that half back holding an indicative ballot on strike action,”

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Dr Roach added: “School leaders fear this desperate situation will undermine educational standards and undo the work of their professional lives. They have had enough, and the result of this survey is a reflection of the strength of feeling that exists.”

A Department for Education spokesman responded: “We have confirmed the highest pay awards for teachers in a generation — 8.9 per cent for new teachers and 5 per cent for experienced teachers and leaders — recognising their dedication and hard work.

“We recognise that schools — much like wider society — are facing cost pressures. So we’re increasing core school funding by £4 billion this year compared to 2021-22, helping schools meet those increased costs.

“It is incredibly disappointing that some unions are threatening industrial action in schools. Strike action will damage children’s education and disrupt parents’ lives. Given the impact of the pandemic on children, it’s more important than ever that strike action is avoided.”



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