England’s Schools Face Closure: Teachers Strike in England Continues
Many schools might not open this Wednesday due to the ongoing teachers strike in England over pay issues. This marks the sixth nationwide strike by the National Education Union (NEU) members in England since February, with another strike planned for Friday.
The strike is not only affecting regular lessons but also end-of-term events like sports day, concerts, and school trips.
Teachers have been protesting for over five months now, demanding pay increases that are above inflation and additional funds to ensure that these pay rises do not affect the schools’ existing budgets.
Despite the change in seasons since the first strike on February 1, the relationship between the disputing parties remains tense.
The Government’s Response and Teachers Strike in England
In an attempt to resolve the issue, the government proposed a one-time payment of £1,000 and a 4.3% pay rise for most teachers next year, with starting salaries reaching £30,000. However, the NEU and three other unions involved in the dispute rejected the offer, leading to more teachers strike in England.
The most recent walkout on May 2 affected more schools than before, with less than half, only 45.3%, able to fully open. The NEU has tried to minimize the impact on students preparing for exams.
The future of the strike now depends on two factors: the announcement of teachers’ pay for the next year and the results of strike ballots currently underway in all four unions.
The strike has broader implications, including potential disruptions to students’ transition to new schools. If the union members vote for further strike action, the new academic year could also be affected.
The NEU’s joint general secretary, Dr. Mary Bousted, criticized the Education Secretary Gillian Keegan’s refusal to re-enter negotiations.
The Department for Education (DfE) has not yet responded to a request for comment, but it previously stated that its pay offer was fair and reasonable, and schools would receive an extra £2.3bn over the next two years. The teachers strike in England continues, and the education sector is bracing for more disruptions.