April teacher strikes 2023: What are the dates after pay deal was rejected?

24 April 2023, 11:22

Teachers are walking out next month
Teachers have agreed to go on strike in 2023 for more pay. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Teachers in England and Wales have confirmed new strike dates for April and May but when are they? And what schools will be closing? Here's the latest information.

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The teachers strike in the UK, as voted by members of the NEU, the largest teachers union, saw tens of thousands of staff in England, Scotland and Wales vacate the classroom in a fight for a better salary.

The first teacher strike happened at the beginning of February 2023 which led ministers, and even some other teachers, to condemn the action.

Following a series of walkouts, teachers received their first pay offer, however, on April 3rd, the NEU confirmed teachers voted, overwhelmingly, to reject the offer.

Related article: How will the teacher strike affect me and students?

Related article: What are teachers pay demands and what's their average salary?

They labelled the offer "insulting" and as a result, have confirmed more strike dates.

There is concern about how children will be affected by the strikes
Teacher strikes have raised concern over how children will be affected . Picture: Getty

When is the next teacher strike?

Following the rejected pay offer, teachers have confirmed two more strike days:

  • Thursday 27 April
  • Tuesday 2 May
Teachers voted to strike on seven days in February and March
Teachers voted to strike for seven days across February and March. Picture: Getty

Why are teachers striking in the UK?

Teachers are walking out because they want to pressure the government into giving them a pay rise.

Union members argue that their salaries have been eroded by inflation, and want wages increased to compensate for that.

This puts them in line with workers in other sectors who have also gone on strike in recent months, including nurses and ambulance staff in the NHS, and railway employees.

Most teachers in England and Wales were given a 5% pay rise last year, inflation was at nearly 11% in December 2022.

In April, 98% of teachers who voted in the NEU ballot (66% turnout) rejected the government's pay offer of a £1,000 one-off payment this year, and a 4.3% rise next year. Starting teacher salaries would also rise to £30,000 from September 2023.

NEU members want a pay rise in line with inflation
NEU members want a teacher salary pay rise in line with inflation. Picture: Getty
Teachers are striking over pay
Teachers have voted hugely in favour of walkout action. Picture: Getty

Will schools close for the teacher strikes?

It's likely that many schools will close because of the strikes, although the department for education said head teachers should take "all reasonable steps" to stay open amid the walkouts.

The NEU has to give two weeks' notice of a strike for each school, to give remaining staff and students time to prepare for colleagues' absence.

The rules for when a school stays open vary for different countries within the UK.

Children have already had much of the past three years disrupted by Covid
Children have already had much of the past three years disrupted by Covid. Picture: Getty

In England, headteachers will decide whether to close their school, and there are no minimum staffing levels for when it has to close.

In Wales, the headteachers make a call alongside their local authority. In Scotland, the local authority decides.

Education secretary Gillian Keegan told LBC that her department has given out guidance to schools on how to stay open as much as possible and for as many children as possible.

She told Nick Ferrari that she asked headteachers "to prioritise vulnerable children, exam cohorts and children of critical workers".

Education Secretary says she is hoping not to use anti-strike legislation on teachers

What has the government said?

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has said the decision to reject the pay offer is disappointing and that it will only "result in more disruption for children and less money for teachers today".

She added: "The offer was funded, including major new investment of over half a billion pounds, in addition to the record funding already planned for school budgets."

Pay will now be decided by an independent pay review body but the £1,000 payment offered for this year will be lost.