Schools could face co-ordinated strikes by teachers and headteachers in autumn

Schools in England could face co-ordinated strike action by teachers and headteachers in the autumn.

Four education unions, which represent school leaders and teachers, intend to co-ordinate any industrial action in a long-running dispute over pay.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) will re-ballot its members in England during the summer term on strike action, with possible walkouts in the autumn if the ballot is successful.

It comes as teacher members of the National Education Union (NEU) staged fresh strikes in schools and sixth form colleges across England on Thursday – with another national walkout planned for Tuesday.

The NEU will re-ballot its teacher members in England in a bid to take further action in the autumn, and teachers in England represented by the NASUWT union will be re-balloted on strike action.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is also due to hold a formal ballot for national strike action in England for the first time in its history.

The Government offered teachers a £1,000 one-off payment for the current school year (2022/23) and an average 4.5% pay rise for staff next year following intensive talks with the education unions.

But all four education unions – the NAHT, the NEU, the NASUWT and the ASCL – rejected the pay offer.

The decision on teachers’ pay in England for next year has been passed to the independent pay review body, the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB).

The general secretaries of the four unions are due to announce that they intend to coordinate any industrial action moving forward at a press conference at the NAHT’s annual conference in Telford on Friday afternoon.

(PA Graphics)

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “This is an unprecedented show of solidarity from the education unions. It sends a clear signal to government that our dispute is not going away.

“Any illusions they may have had that we would be put off by their derisory first offer and refusal to continue to negotiate should be shattered.

“School staff will not put up with eroded pay, squeezed school funding and unbearable workload and working conditions any longer – and we are fully united together in fighting for change.”

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of NEU, said: “In washing her hands of any responsibility for resolving the teacher pay and funding dispute, the Education Secretary has united the teaching profession in its determination to not accept the poor offer currently on the table.”

He added: “Parents and the education profession will be in no doubt that if further industrial action needs to be taken the blame for this will lie squarely at the Government’s door.”