Teachers in England and Wales vote for strike action over pay
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Year 11 pupils have only had one year of undisrupted learning since starting secondary school, a report has revealed. Looming strike action by the NEU, coronavirus lockdown restrictions and staff shortages have all ensured GCSE students have seen their school years disrupted. A pupil in Year 11 in England has missed at least 111 days, the Telegraph has claimed.
The cohort, which only started secondary school 2018, suffered in Year Eight as they were not prioritised for a return to school because they were not close to sitting examinations at the time.
The year group will now face multiple days of school closures in February and March due to strikes.
Teachers in England and Wales will strike on seven days in February and March, the NEU has announced.
The UK’s largest education union said the strike will affect 23,400 schools.
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NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney claimed 90 percent of balloted teachers in England and 92 percent of balloted teachers in Wales supported strike action.
He also told BBC: “We really don’t want to have any strikes, we want the Government to listen and sit down and talk.”
All schools in England and Wales will be affected on February 1.
Welsh schools will also face strike action on Valentine’s Day.
Midlands schools and those in the NEU’s eastern region will be affected on March 1.
March 2 will see schools in London and the South of England face strike action.
Strike action will conclude with a two-day walk-out across England and Wales on March 15 and 16.
The stike action comes weeks before GCSE exam season kicks off on May 15.
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The strike action comes weeks before GCSE exam season kicks off on May 15.
Conservative MP and Education Select Committee chairman Robin Walker warned strikes “must not inadvertently reinforce another damaging by-product of the pandemic, where time away from school became normalised in the minds of some pupils and their families”.
He told the Telegraph: “I urge the unions to continue to engage with the fact that out of every part of the public sector, education has been prioritised with the biggest proportionate increase in spending, and I would urge the Government to do everything it can to ensure that if strikes do go ahead, they are managed in a way that allows children to attend school, protecting face-to-face education wherever possible.”
Molly Kingsley, from parents’ campaign group UsFromThem, claimed the NEU has “little regard for children’s welfare and also for families, because how are families supposed to work?”
She added: “In the pandemic, we let a really terrible precedent take root which was the idea that school could be switched on and off and that teaching could be done with a laptop.
“The Department for Education has to quash that notion, whether by making a deal with the unions or by putting contingency plans in place.”
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