Our members in state-funded schools and sixth-form colleges in England have voted YES YES for industrial action on pay, workload and working time

Action short of strike action

Our members have told us it’s Time for a Limit on excessive workload, unreasonable expectations and the increasing number of hours it takes to fulfil their role.

Members in some schools and sixth-form colleges in England will be taking action short of strike action, commencing Monday 18 September. More information can be found on the Time for a Limit page.

The results are in - and the Government has been forced to act!

Our members in state-funded schools in England have voted in favour of industrial action.

Based on an overall turnout of 51.9%:

  • 88.5% of eligible members voted in support of strike action; and
  • 94.3% voted in support of action short of strike action.

These results far exceed the Government’s anti-trade union ballot thresholds and your engagement in that ballot has already moved the Government to act.

Thank you to all our members who took part in the ballot and to those who worked to achieve this success.

What happens next?

Your votes have succeeded in ending months of stonewalling and prevarication by ministers. The prospect of widespread disruption in schools in the autumn has brought the Government back to the negotiating table, ending four months in which ministers refused to engage.

Within two days of our ballot result, the Government promised to honour the STRB recommendation on pay and engage in further negotiations on workload and working time. See further details below.

The NASUWT National Executive agreed to put the STRB recommendation of 6.5% to members with a recommendation to accept. The survey closed on Monday 31 July and the results will be announced shortly.

Whether you choose to accept or reject the STRB recommendation of 6.5% for September, the NASUWT will continue to press the Government on pay restoration and for immediate action to reduce workload and working hours.

Our members have been clear that real progress is needed urgently on all of these matters and only our members have a mandate to take action on workload and working hours.

We believe you should have more money in your pocket now, but we also demand pay restoration, not more real-terms pay cuts, to end the recruitment and retention crisis and raise the status of the teaching profession.

In May, we told Education Secretary Gillian Keegan that a dispute will continue to exist until:

  • 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;

  • appropriate statutory and non-statutory measures are agreed to reduce excessive workload of teachers and headteachers;

  • appropriate statutory and non-statutory measures are agreed to limit and bring significant downward pressure on the working hours of teachers and headteachers.

In May, we joined with ASCL, the NAHT and the NEU to commit to co-ordinated industrial action this autumn. We are still ready and committed to taking action if all our demands on pay, workload and working hours are not met.

Read the General Secretary’s comments.

What the Government is promising

Following intensive talks last week, the Government has now announced that it will:

  • commit more than £1.4 billion extra funding to schools towards the teachers’ pay award for 2023/24;

  • accept the STRB recommendation of a minimum 6.5% pay award to all salary scales and allowances;

  • commit to a package of new measures to tackle workload and working time.

These important commitments would not have come about without your continued support for our Better Deal for Teachers campaign and the industrial action ballot.

Teachers’ pay

The Government has accepted the recommendation of the independent pay review body - the STRB - to increase the pay and allowances of teachers and headteachers by 6.5% from September 2023.

This is more than the 4.5% award previously offered by the Government which was rejected by NASUWT members by a margin of nine to one.

The Government had hoped that the STRB would recommend a pay award close to its previous offer. They didn’t. The Government was set to reject the recommendation from the STRB, but your vote made it impossible for them to do that and avoid the prospect of widespread industrial action across the country.


Members have always been clear that any pay award must also be fully funded in order to avoid cuts to jobs and frontline services in schools.

Following the vote for industrial action, the Government conceded that schools did not have the money required to deliver a pay award above 3.5%.

As a result, we have persuaded the Government to commit to a package of additional money for schools worth more than £1.4 billion. This is equivalent to an additional 3% uplift to school budgets paid for by a new Teachers’ Pay Grant which will deliver an extra £525 million to schools in 2023/24 and an extra £900 million in 2024/25.

This additional funding will go to every school and academy in order to pay teachers, while protecting frontline service delivery. All schools will receive more money in their budgets to fund teachers’ pay and ensure no cuts to existing provision within schools or to SEN budgets, early years or 16-19 provision.

We have also secured an additional pot of £40 million to support schools that are struggling financially. 

We have also secured additional money for 16-19 provision, including for sixth-form colleges. The Government announced an extra £185 million in 2023/24 and £285 million in 2024/25 to go to sixth-form and FE colleges.

We will now be discussing with the leaders of the Sixth Form Colleges Association how that funding will be used to deliver an acceptable pay award for sixth-form college teachers.

The Government has now launched its formal statutory consultation on the STRB’s Report and on changes to the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document. The consultation will run for ten weeks, closing on 21 September. As ever, we will be responding fully to the consultation.

Workload and working time

While pay restoration remains a key priority for our members, we have also been clear to the Government that tackling workload and excessive working hours must also be a priority.

The package of commitments we have secured from the Government include promises on tackling excessive workload and working hours, including:

  • a Government target to reduce teachers’ working hours by a minimum of five hours per week;

  • a national taskforce comprising Government and unions to tackle excessive workload;

  • statutory guidance listing tasks that should not be carried out by teachers and school leaders;

  • maximising sign-up by schools and academies to the Education Staff Wellbeing Charter;

  • further engagement with unions and Ofsted to reduce the impacts of inspection on the workload and wellbeing of teachers and school leaders.

Despite these concessions the ballot has allowed us to achieve from the Government, we remain in dispute as we continue our fight for pay restoration and an end to excessive workload and working time.

Thank you once again to all our members and activists who worked so incredibly hard to win these changes from the Government.

Your action has already made a massive difference. It has moved the Government to promise billions more funding for school/college budgets and improvements on pay and working conditions.

Your continued support will help secure even more as we continue our fight for a Better Deal for Teachers.

Would you like to be more active in the NASUWT?

The NASUWT is a member-led Union, which means you getting actively involved in your Union to support your colleagues at work.

Getting active in the Union can take a variety of forms and will mean you also get access to FREE training, support, and personal and professional development: you can be proud in the knowledge that you are undertaking a role that helps teachers in their workplaces.

Find out more

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Members said no to low pay

NASUWT members emphatically rejected the Government’s pay offer for teachers in England.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey on the offer, in which 87% of eligible members agreed that the Union should reject the Government’s pay proposals.

Following feedback from members, the NASUWT National Executive confirmed that the Union are conducting a school-by-school ballot for industrial action among members in state-funded schools and sixth-form colleges in England.

The Union’s consultative survey also asked you whether you were willing to vote for strike action to achieve a fair pay award. Seventy-seven per cent said you would do so.

Following the results of the survey, the NASUWT National Executive met to confirm that the Union will ballot members in schools and sixth-form colleges in England for industrial action.

The Government’s pay offer failed to come close to addressing the concerns over pay and working conditions of teachers and their offer was rightly rejected by you.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has said that she is willing to negotiate and to listen to the profession. She must now demonstrate that she means what she says by getting back to the negotiating table to find a resolution to our dispute.

The onus is now on the Government to come forward with a fully funded pay offer that will be acceptable to the profession.

General Secretary responds to the leaked STRB recommendations

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