Teachers’ strike dates: When are they and what are teachers paid?

A stock image of a primary school student with his teacherImage source, Getty Images

Thousands of schools across England, Scotland and Wales are facing further disruption this week as teachers go on strike again over pay.

Teachers will strike on different days depending on which union they are in.

Three consecutive days of regional action will start in England on Tuesday – the same day as strikes in Scotland.

When are NEU teachers striking?

Further NEU strikes are scheduled for:

  • 28 February: North and north-west England, Yorkshire and Humber
  • 1 March: East Midlands, West Midlands, and the NEU’s eastern region
  • 2 March: All schools in Wales (postponed from 14 Feb), as well as south-east and south-west England, and London
  • 15 and 16 March: All schools in England and Wales

NEU teachers in sixth-form colleges in England are due to join the walkouts.

The Department for Education (DfE) said it wanted “formal talks on pay, conditions and reform”, ahead of the latest strike days – but only if the NEU called them off.

The NEU said it would only pause strike action if good progress was made in talks first.

When are the EIS and other unions striking?

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and two other unions are walking out again on 28 February and 1 March.

The EIS will hold 20 further strike days between 13 March and 21 April.

Image source, Getty Images

What are teachers’ pay demands?

Unions are calling for above-inflation increases, and want schools to get extra money to ensure pay rises do not come from existing budgets.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan says the government has already agreed to provide an extra £2bn in school funding in England, “which will take real-terms spending on schools to its highest level in history”.

How much do teachers get paid?

The starting salary for teachers in England is due to rise to £30,000 a year by September 2023.

State school classroom teachers in England were paid an average of £38,982 in the 2021/22 school year. This compares with £39,009 in Wales and £40,026 in Scotland. Northern Ireland did not provide a figure.

The average head teacher’s salary in England for the same period was £74,095, and £57,117 for other senior leaders.

Experts in England advise the government about teacher pay, based on factors including vacancies and subject shortages.

As with all public spending, money allocated in England determines the funding awarded to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Employers also contribute 23.68% to teacher pensions, which the education secretary called “very generous”. Nurses, by comparison, receive 14.38% in employer contributions.

Will my child’s school close on strike days?

Schools should try to open, the government says, but less than half were fully operational during the 1 February strike.

Head teachers decide. Teachers don’t have to say if they are striking in advance, and there are no rules about when parents must be told about closures.

Some carers may only be told about a closure on the morning itself, once heads know which staff are available.

There are no minimum staffing rules, and heads can use agency staff and volunteers. They do not have to stick to the curriculum.

As in England, head teachers decide whether to close.

The Welsh government says parents should ideally get a week’s notice, but individual schools must decide how best to minimise the impact of the strikes.

Media caption,

WATCH: What do the teachers’ strikes in England and Wales mean for parents?

Almost all primary and secondary schools closed on strike days. Local councils decide.

Can I get time off work?

Your employer must not refuse a reasonable request, but you may not be paid.

Alternatively, you may be able to take annual leave or unpaid parental leave.

Will strikes affect breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and pre-schools?

Wrap-around care and pre-schools may be open, even if the main school isn’t.

However, privately-run clubs might not operate, so check.

What about vulnerable pupils and key workers’ children?

Wales’ education minister says head teachers are doing “whatever they can” to support these groups.

Will exams be cancelled?

All schools and colleges should have contingency plans in place to limit disruption.

They should prioritise exams and other formal assessments on strike days, even if the school is closed to other pupils.

Students will be told if there is any change to the exam or venue.

What happens to children on free school meals?

This might involve providing food parcels.

In Scotland, some families have been offered a packed lunch or given money to cover food costs.

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