Teachers in England vote in favour of more strikes

Pupils face more misery as union announces teachers in England have voted in favour of more strikes from this autumn

Schools are set to face further disruption after teachers in England voted to back a fresh strike action this autumn.

Almost nine out of 10 teachers represented by NASUWT, who voted in the ballot, backed industrial action – in what the education union says is its largest walkout in more than a decade. 

The union – which passed the 50 per cent ballot turnout required by law – has said it plans to stage continuous action starting in September as part of a long-running dispute over pay and working conditions.

News of the latest teacher protest will come as a fresh blow for pupils and parents, who have already endured months of misery, with lesson disrupted due to strikes.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary, said in a statement: ‘Today our members have sent a strong message to the government and to employers that teachers demand a better deal on pay and to address excessive workload and working hours.

Educators on the picket line at Oasis Academy in London on Friday, as teachers stage walkouts across England in an ongoing dispute over pay

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) on the picket line at Oasis Academy in London on Friday 

‘Our members have secured the largest mandate for industrial action by the NASUWT in over a decade, exceeding the Government’s anti-trade union ballot thresholds.

‘We have today written to the Government and to employers confirming the prospect for industrial action in schools the length and breadth of the country from this autumn.

‘Our members’ goodwill has been taken for granted for far too long. Excessive workload demands have become so debilitating that we have seen record numbers of teachers and headteachers leaving the profession, or reporting anxiety, work-related stress and self-harm because of the pressures of the job.

‘No teacher should expect to work in conditions damaging to their health and wellbeing. Ministers cannot continue to wring their hands and do nothing. If the Government won’t take the action needed to end excessive workload and working hours, we will take action in workplaces across the country to protect our members.’ 

The latest wave of disruption comes just days after scores of teachers ditched the classrooms last week in one of the final strikes of the summer term.

Overall, 88.5 per cent of NASUWT teacher members in England who voted in the ballot backed strikes and 94.3 per cent backed action short of strikes, with a turnout of 51.9 per cent. 

Dates for strike action in the autumn term will also be considered and it will be coordinated with other unions where possible, the union said.

‘Our members deserve better and pupils deserve better, too. The Government cannot continue to ignore the damaging impact that the teacher recruitment and retention crisis is having on pupils’ education,’ Dr Roach added. 

Education minister Robert Halfon said it was ‘impossible to say’ what decision would be taken as he was pressed for a response to industrial action posing disruption to schools on Friday (Pictured: Teachers on strike in London on Friday)

The Derby City NEU chapter holds a picnic at Markeaton Park amid the strike action on Wednesday 

‘The Government must urgently resolve teachers’ demands for concrete measures to tackle excessive workload and working hours and to secure real terms pay restoration.

‘The Government must stop playing politics, publish the report of the School Teachers’ Review Body and put an end to the damaging speculation they have allowed to develop over recent weeks.’

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) staged their latest protest on Friday, with ministers being warned that industrial unrest could escalate in the autumn term unless there is movement on teachers’ salaries.

The Department for Education said the action would cause disruption to pupils and parents and result in the cancellation of children’s end-of-term events.

Friday’s strike was the second day of action in the week, following last Wednesday’s walkout which resulted in many schools being either fully closed or restricted access to certain groups of pupils.

Many of the teachers who plunged schools into chaos enjoyed picnics while millions of pupils missed out on sports days, school trips and other end-of-school activities.

Teachers walking out on Friday also enjoyed planned so-called ‘festival picnics’ that include face-painting and music. 

More to follow. 

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