Tens of thousands of teachers across the Midlands and eastern England are set to strike today in a long-running dispute over pay. It is the second day of regional walkouts by the National Education Union (NEU) after teachers took strike action in the north of England on Monday.
The NEU has estimated that around 200,000 members across England and Wales will strike over three days of action this week, with the ‘majority of schools’ expected to either restrict access to pupils or fully close.
Picket lines will be mounted outside schools in the East Midlands, West Midlands and eastern regions in England on Wednesday, and rallies are due to be held in Birmingham, Cambridge, Leicester and Nottingham.
Further strikes by teachers are planned across Wales, the south of England and London on Thursday.
Last week, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan invited the teaching unions to ‘formal talks on pay, conditions and reform’ on the condition that this week’s walkouts were suspended. Ms Keegan has called the union’s decision not to suspend the regional strikes ‘hugely disappointing’.
But Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, joint general secretaries of the NEU, have accused the Government of ‘burying its head in the sand’ as they claim underfunded pay increases have ‘pushed the profession to its limits’.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: ‘While it’s difficult to predict the exact impact of strikes in schools this week, there is likely to be significant localised disruption.
‘School leaders will be considering what approach to take for those schools affected, based on their individual circumstances and risk assessments.’
Further national strikes by NEU members in England and Wales are planned for March 15 and 16.
On February 1, the first day of walkouts by NEU members, the majority of state schools in England were forced to shut their doors to some pupils.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: ‘The impact of this week’s strikes will likely be similar to that of the national strike on February 1, when the majority of schools were partially open but there was still significant disruption.’
Schools across Scotland face more closures on Wednesday as members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and NASUWT unions embark on their second day of national strike action this week in a row over pay.
It comes after EIS members took three days of ‘targeted’ strike action in four areas represented by key politicians, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, last week, and it also follows national strike action involving several unions in January and late last year.»Second day of regional walkouts by the National Education Union (NEU) in UK«