Thousands of teachers will strike in February and March in a row over wages – despite warnings the walkouts will put vulnerable children at risk, but how will it affect your children?
When are teachers supposed to be on strike?
Strike days vary depending on where your child goes to school in the UK.
England and Wales – February and March:
The National Education Union (NEU), which has 300,000 members and is the largest education union, announced seven days of action in February and March in England and Wales.
The first national strike day will take place on February 1, with more than 23,000 schools expected to be affected. Other strikes will take place on February 14, March 15 and March 16.
Teachers in several regions will also strike on February 28 and March 1 and 2.
Individual schools will be affected by walkouts for up to four days and the government has advised schools to stay open if possible.
In Wales, the school leaders’ union, NAHT, successfully voted for the legal right to take industrial action. Union members in England, however, did not reach the required 50% majority.
A strike ballot organized by the NASUWT also fell short of the legally required number of votes to allow strike action.
The union representing school and college leaders, the ASCL, is currently deciding whether or not to hold a ballot.
Strike days in England and Wales:
- Wednesday February 1: All eligible members in England and Wales.
- Tuesday February 14: All eligible members in Wales.
- Tuesday February 28: All eligible members of the North, North West, Yorkshire and Humber regions.
- Wednesday March 1: All eligible members of the East Midlands, West Midlands and Eastern regions.
- Thursday March 2: All eligible members of the London, South East and South West regions.
- Wednesday March 15: All eligible members in England and Wales.
- Thursday March 16: All eligible members in England and Wales.
The National Education Union (NEU) represents 300,000 members. Pictured: NEU General Secretary Mary Bousted and Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan
Scotland – Currently on strike and action will continue in February, April and March:
The majority of Scottish primary and secondary schools are currently closed due to the teachers’ strike.
The Educational Institute of Scotland today began a further 16 days of industrial action.
This will include two days of strikes in all schools and sectors on February 28 and March 1, followed by a rolling program of strikes for 20 days between March 13 and April 21.
Northern Ireland – currently
Teachers from five unions in Northern Ireland continue to operate outside of a strike, meaning administrative tasks such as lesson planning are affected.
The National Education Union (NEU), which has 300,000 members and is the largest education union, announced seven days of action in February and March in England and Wales. File Picture
Why are teachers on strike?
In Scotland, teachers recently rejected a 5% increase and argued for a 10% increase. Another offer included increases of up to 6.85% for the lowest paid, but the EIS said the deal was “insulting”.
In England and Wales, most state school teachers received a 5% raise in 2022.
In Northern Ireland, many teachers have been offered a 3.2% raise for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 school years.
Teachers’ unions argue that double-digit inflation means increases of 5% or less are not enough and are essentially pay cuts.
Teacher representatives also want schools to receive additional funds to ensure that salary increases do not come from budgets set for other expenses.
Teachers, who are on strike outside Pinkie St Peters Primary School in Musselburgh, East Lothian in Scotland, holding signs saying ‘Be careful’ in protest over pay
How much are teachers paid?
According to the UK government’s Get into Teaching website, all qualified teachers earn a starting salary of at least £28,000 a year.
Those who start working in London will receive a higher salary to subsidize the city’s high cost of living.
Outside London, the maximum salary for qualified teachers is £38,810 a year, but it is possible to earn more as an ‘established and outstanding’ teacher or practitioner.
At the top end of the salary scale, teachers outside London can earn a maximum of £43,685 a year.
For Outer London this can be as high as £44,919, while in Outer and Inner London it can be as high as £48,055 and £53,482 respectively.
Practitioners do not run departments, but mentor and mentor other teachers.
In England, outside of London, leading practitioners earn between £44,523 a year and £67,585. In Outer London this rises to between £45,479 and £68,913 a year, between £48,055 and £71,220 in Outer London and rises to £52,936 and £76,104 in Central London .
What do strikes mean for your child? Do schools close if teachers go on strike?
In England, the decision to close schools rests with headteachers and there are no minimum staffing rules.
In Scotland, local councils decide while headteachers decide in Wales, in consultation with local authorities.
If your child’s school is closed, you have the right to take time off work.
However, this does not necessarily mean that you will be paid for your days off. This applies to England, Scotland and Wales.
Unpaid parental leave is also a possibility, but may need to be planned well in advance.