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The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union is balloting eligible members for industrial action in state-funded schools and sixth form colleges across England over pay, workload and working time.

The ballot for state-funded schools will open on June 5 and close on July 10. A ballot for sixth form colleges opens today (May 15) and will close on June 12.

The ballots are the result of the failure of the Government to agree the NASUWT's demand for a fully-funded restorative pay award for all teachers employed in state-funded schools and sixth form colleges in England, and to resolve the issue of excessive workload and long working hours.

Today, NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach has issued official notice to the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, that the NASUWT will ballot its members in all state-funded schools in England and will serve legal notices to employers of the intention to ballot.

Members are being balloted over both strike action and action short of strike action.

A timetable for industrial action will be determined once ballots are concluded.

Dr Roach said:

“When our members rejected the Government’s offer on pay and non-pay conditions, Ministers have spent weeks refusing to sit down with us to find a way forward.

“The NASUWT has throughout said to the Secretary of State that we are willing to engage anytime, anyplace, anywhere. However, due to the Government’s intransigence, petulance and contempt for the views of our members, we have been left with no other option than to ballot for industrial action.

“There is mounting evidence of a profound crisis in teacher recruitment and retention which has been of the Government’s making.

“More and more teachers are leaving the profession prematurely whilst the Government is also failing to meet its own targets to recruit new entrants into the profession.

“Teachers and headteachers have endured substantial real-terms pay cuts for more than a decade, which has been made worse by the ongoing cost of living crisis.

“Government reforms and underfunding of schools and colleges have also contributed to unsustainable workload pressures and excessive working hours.

“The Government’s own evidence confirms the scale of the crisis in the profession, and the Education Secretary must now face up to dealing with the problem.

“It is not acceptable for the Government to expect teachers to work more for less, or to risk damaging their health, or to be forced out of the job as a result of the excessive demands placed on them.

“Our members are also concerned that the Government’s failure to invest in the teaching profession is having a serious and detrimental impact on the provision of education to pupils.

“Industrial action can be avoided if the Government sits down and negotiates a settlement on pay and working conditions that our members can accept.”


Teachers have endured substantial real terms cuts to their pay over the last 13 years, which has been exacerbated by the current and ongoing cost of living crisis. The offer of an average 4.5% award for 2023/24, together with a £1,000 (or pro rata) non-consolidated payment for 2022/23 represents an unacceptable real terms cut to teachers’ pay. 86% of NASUWT members who took part in the consultation over the pay offer voted to reject the offer.

The DfE’s own research into working hours showed in in a typical week, school leaders worked on average 56.8 hours and school teachers worked on average 48.7 hours. More than four in ten school leaders (43%) and two in ten teachers worked at least 60 hours per week.

Evidence from the Union’s own research found that 73% of teachers and headteachers have seriously considered leaving the profession in the last 12 months

The NASUWT has notified the Education Secretary of the measures needed to resolve the dispute:
(i)               Adequate funding is provided to all state funded schools to deliver an acceptable pay settlement for all teachers and headteachers for the academic years 2022/23 and 2023/24;
(ii)              Appropriate statutory and non-statutory measures are agreed to reduce excessive workload of teachers and headteachers.
(iii)        Appropriate statutory and non-statutory measures are agreed to limit and bring significant downward pressure on the working hours of teachers and headteachers.


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