Struggling teachers say government ‘doesn’t value’ staff Negotiations have stalled to avert a wave of strikes.
Education Minister Gillian Keegan held an emergency meeting with unions on Wednesday Tens of thousands of teachers support strike In February and March.
But after the talks, NEU joint secretary-general Dr Mary Bousted said: “At the moment we have not heard anything that makes me believe we can avoid this strike.”
ASCL secretary-general Geoff Barton, who was also at the meeting, said: “No progress has been made at this meeting and we are nowhere near a solution.”
The Ministry of Education insisted the talks were “constructive” and discussions would continue in the coming days.
NEU members will stage a nationwide strike on February 1 and March 15-16, with 23,400 schools expected to be hit in England and Wales.
A four-day regional strike was also announced.
Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror)
If schools do not have enough staff to teach children safely, they may be forced to close and switch to online classes.
During the last national teachers’ strike in 2016, about 11 percent of schools were closed and 20 percent were partially closed.
The “Mirror” interviewed teachers who were planning to strike and asked them why they planned to strike.
‘Teachers need a fair deal’
Maths teacher Charlotte McFarlane said wages had been squeezed out for a long time, adding: “It feels like the government doesn’t value teachers.”
The 31-year-old teacher, who teaches at a secondary school in south London, blames the struggle to keep staff on pay and a soaring workload.
“Teachers often have two degrees,” she said. “My friends who work in other industries have more flexibility to work from home, whereas our jobs are very demanding and the hours are long.
“It’s fair to teachers and education in general – and salaries need to be fully funded. Otherwise, it’s just cuts in other areas.
Charlotte worries about what will happen when her fixed mortgage deal comes to an end over the summer.
“Compared to some people, my life isn’t that bad, but I have friends who are barely making ends meet. That worries everyone a little bit.”
‘Students are hurting every day’
Steve Scott, NEU representative in East Riding, Yorkshire, said: “This is about reversing the pay cuts for teachers that have taken place over the past 12 years. Talking to older teachers, when they first start working, they can Apply to mortgage their teaching salary.
“Now, teachers go into second or third grade to take that into account.”
Steve, 27, who has been a teacher for five years, said the school was struggling to retain staff after years of layoffs and challenging working conditions.
“There’s clearly a problem with the workload and pay of all these teachers leaving,” he said.
Asked whether his children’s education was at stake because of the strike, he said: “Students are being compromised almost every day when they are taught by unqualified teachers or by someone who is not an expert in those subjects.
“Unless educators stand behind education and school funding, it will only get worse. We need to protect the education of all students, not just the ones in the classrooms in front of us right now.”
Steve, who teaches at a secondary school near Beverly but speaking as a union representative, urged ministers to get around the negotiating table.
“No teacher wants to go on strike, we want to serve our students, but we can’t let the government continue to cut education like it is. We want them to talk.”
‘Teachers shouldn’t have second jobs’
Andrea Jackson, 48, has been a teacher for 26 years, during which time she has been forced farther and farther away from London because of rising prices.
To make ends meet, the single mum also had to work a second tutor job – as well as mark the holidays – and had to forego perks such as holidays abroad.
“I’m angry because I’ve worked so many years to be in this situation,” she said. “Teachers shouldn’t have second jobs.”
Andrea, who works as an English teacher at a secondary school in Buckinghamshire, added: “We are no different than other public service workers such as nurses. We are in the same boat as far as the cost of living is concerned.
“We’ve been taking pay cuts for the last 10 years. Teachers are finding it harder and harder as time goes on. We’re going to have massive recruitment and retention issues.”
She added: “It’s like the NHS and the legal system are crumbling.”
She said schools were grappling with the impact of Covid on children’s learning and had taken on extra responsibilities since the pandemic.
Andrea said the profession had been “devalued” and called for greater respect for teachers. “If you asked in class if anyone wanted to be a teacher. No one would raise their hand.”
She added: “It’s like National Health Insurance System And the legal system, are crumbling. “