Teacher strikes

DfE and unions agree pay talks over teacher strikes

‘Intensive’ talks start today after the NEU agreed to a 'period of calm for two weeks' where no more strike dates will be announced

‘Intensive’ talks start today after the NEU agreed to a 'period of calm for two weeks' where no more strike dates will be announced

NEU members vote to reject pay offer

The government and the National Education Union (NEU) have finally agreed to start pay talks.

A joint statement released this morning stated the NEU would “create a period of calm” for two weeks, during which no further strike dates will be announced.

It comes after the last scheduled industrial action by members in England took place on Wednesday and Thursday.

‘Period of calm for two weeks’

“In order for talks to begin and, we hope, reach a successful conclusion, the NEU has confirmed it will create a period of calm for two weeks during which time they have said no further strike dates will be announced,” the statement read.

The talks will focus on teacher pay, conditions and workload reduction. The Association of School and College Leaders, National Association of Head Teachers, and NASUWT will also attend the talks.

Education secretary Gillian Keegan is expected to meet with the four unions today, with ”intensive” talks continuing into the weekend.

To “protect the integrity of the talks”, all parties have agreed not to make any public statements on the detail of talks, including through the media or on social media.

Yesterday, government agreed a deal with NHS staff – whose unions have been negotiating for two weeks.

According to the NEU, around 300,000 teachers across England walked out on Wednesday and Thursday.

On both days, 47 per cent of schools in England restricted attendance, while 6 per cent closed altogether.

Strikes disrupt more schools this week

Overall, a slightly higher proportion of schools closed or restricted attendance for this week’s action (53 per cent) than on the first day of strikes on February 1 (51.7 per cent).

However, on the first day of action last month, a higher proportion closed fully (8.9 per cent).

As in previous action, London faced the greatest disruption, with between 82 and 83 per cent of schools restricting attendance or closed this week, compared to between 38 and 39 per cent in the East Midlands.

Secondary schools were again more likely to be affected. On Thursday, 86 per cent of secondary schools closed or restricted attendance, compared to 47 per cent of primary schools and 69 per cent of special schools. Figures were similar on Wednesday.

However, special schools were more likely to be fully-closed (10 per cent) than secondary or primary schools (6 per cent).

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