Pupils stayed at home as the NUT took industrial action in its long-running dispute with the government; the NASUWT declined to participate.
The industrial action resulted in many schools being completely or partially closed, as teachers joined rallies and picket lines, the BBC reports.
The NUT staged a series of regional strikes with the NASUWT last year. A proposed one-day national strike last November was called off after talks with the government, and the NASUWT decided not to take part in Wednesday’s action because of ongoing talks.
The overall impact of the strike wasn’t clear, with individual schools making their own arrangements, depending on how many of their staff went on strike. There were regional variations in the number of schools affected: 400 in the North East and Cumbria, 80 in Warwickshire and 12 in Coventry.
The NUT’s Christine Blower called for a “change of policy” to resolve the bitter dispute and said that the strike was a success: “Certainly the message we are getting is that the action is well-supported. On the back of the 60-hour week workload diary survey teachers are just feeling overwhelmed.” The DfE claimed that “well under a quarter” of schools in England were closed; in Wales the figure was 297.
On Tuesday, Michael Gove wrote to union leaders, setting out the progress he believed had been made in an ongoing programme of talks between the DfE and the unions. “I have been following the progress of the weekly talks closely and am encouraged by reports from the meetings so far,” he wrote. Schools Minister David Laws said there was no basis for the strike, because of ongoing negotiations. “I do not understand why the NUT are taking this industrial action in the middle of talks,” he said.
The DfE condemned the industrial action. “Parents will struggle to understand why the NUT is pressing ahead with strikes over the government’s measures to let heads pay good teachers more,” an official said.”They called for talks to avoid industrial action, we agreed to their request, and talks have been taking place weekly. Despite this constructive engagement with their concerns, the NUT is taking action that will disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.”
Did you take part in the strike and if so were you concerned about the effect on your pupils’ education? If you’re a NASUWT member, do you think the union was right to refuse to join the NUT?