Teachers on strike for second day this week, with many schools closed fully or partially on Friday

7 July 2023, 12:34 | Updated: 7 July 2023, 12:38

Teachers are on strike again this week
Teachers are on strike again this week. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Kit Heren

Teachers have gone on strike for the second day this week amid an ongoing dispute over pay.

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National Education Union (NEU) members have walked out for the seventh time since February, meaning many schools across England are closed either fully or partially. The most recent strike day was this Wednesday.

Like other striking public sector workers, the teachers want a pay rise above the rate of inflation. They also want extra cash to make sure pay rises don't come from school budgets as they stand.

Most state school teachers in England had a 5% pay rise in 2022-23.

The government made a pay offer in April of a one-off payment amounting to £1,000 this school year, followed by a 4.3% rise in the next academic year, and the provision of a task force to help reduce teacher workload.

Read more: Teachers announce more strikes with NEU threatening coordinated action with other unions

Read more: Teacher strike: What schools are closed today and how to check

Teachers on strike in Bristol on Friday
Teachers on strike in Bristol on Friday. Picture: LBC

Ministers said the offer was "fair and reasonable", adding that schools would be given an extra £2.3 billion over the next two years.

But the NEU and other unions involved in the teachers' dispute rejected the offer as "insulting", saying that between 42% and 58% schools would have to make cuts under those terms.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU) in Durham on Friday
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU) in Durham on Friday. Picture: Alamy

Wage levels for teachers, like many other public sector staff, are recommended an independent review body. The review for teachers is said to have come back with a recommendation of a 6.5% pay rise - but the government has yet to publish the details.

Asked by LBC's Nick Ferrari on Friday when the report would be published, department for education junior minister Robert Halfon said he couldn't give a date.

Teachers on strike in London on Friday
Teachers on strike in London on Friday. Picture: Alamy

He said: "The principle is that we’ve got to be as fair as possible to teachers and support staff. I thank them for the incredible work that they do for our schools and colleges.

Teachers on strike on Wednesday
Teachers on strike on Wednesday. Picture: Alamy

"But we also have to be fair to the taxpayer, because there’s a very difficult road the government has to go down, spending billions helping people with the cost of living and energy bills. Spending a billion trying to reduce a debt, because that way we can grow the economy, [and] halve inflation."

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the NEU, cautiously welcomed news of the possible pay offer.

NEU general secretary says the 'biggest crisis' to education is not strikes, but lack of teachers

She said: "I think members would accept 6.5% with one major addition, which is that it would be funded.

"Schools don't have the money to pay teachers 6.5%. We calculate there would need to be 3% on average [extra] funding for schools in order to do that."

The government is not legally obliged to follow the recommendations of the pay review board.

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