Schools could face chaos as teachers are set to vote on striking, according to reports. Union members are voting on whether to go ahead with walkouts in England and Wales in early 2023. The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is said to be deciding its next steps after a “consultative ballot” last month. And voting for members of the teachers’ union NASUWT, the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) and the National Education Union (NEU) closes on January 13.
If strikes do go ahead, schools could be forced to close with hundreds of pupils sent home, causing chaos for parents.
Contingency plans are already in place to avoid kids going without food or being subjected to neglect, abuse and criminal exploitation if classrooms close, The Telegraph reports.
But a source in a school leadership union told the newspaper they would be “very surprised” to see schools shut completely, though admitted it was a possibility.
“I think [school leaders] would find it a very difficult situation. [But] I couldn’t see that happening frankly,” they added.
The Sun reported that the NEU “pestered members” with cold calls and texts “pleading with them to back industrial action”.
It needs a 50 per cent turnout rate, with 40 per cent of eligible staff backing strikes to call a walkout. If enough votes are obtained, union bosses will then set a date for strikes.
Last month, teachers announced they would stand together to take action in a dispute over pay.
It has been confirmed that NASUWT members in Scottish primary schools will strike on January 10, while teachers working in secondary schools will walk out on January 11.
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“Our members are not prepared to stand by while their pay dwindles and their living costs rise.
“The Government and employers will need to bring forward a substantially improved pay offer if they want to see an end to this dispute.”
Mike Corbett, NASUWT national official Scotland, said: “Teaching is a critical job and one that is uniquely and increasingly challenging. Teachers just want pay levels that reflect the years of training they have undertaken, the high level of workload involved and the skill involved in meeting the needs of all pupils. They want salaries that enable experienced teachers to remain in the profession long-term and which will incentivise new entrants to join teaching.
“They want pay levels that demonstrate they are respected and valued as the key workers they are.”