Frequently asked questions about the upcoming consultative ballot in England

Why are we asking for your views?

Your views are important in helping us continue to make the case to the Government on why we need a Better Deal for Teachers.

We are seeking your views to help us apply further pressure on the Government at a time when important public spending decisions are being made and when the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) is meeting to consider the pay award for this September.

The Government’s Workload Reduction Taskforce will also be presenting its report before the start of the summer term. It is important that we act now to ensure that the Government takes your concerns seriously.

By responding to the NASUWT consultative ballot, you will help us make an even stronger case to the Government, the STRB and the Government’s taskforce on the need for them to deliver better working conditions for all of our members.

When will the consultative ballot take place?

The consultative ballot of members employed in state-funded schools and academies in England will take place from Monday 19 February. An online link to the consultative ballot form will be sent to eligible members.

This will be an online ballot only. Ballot papers will not be sent to members by post.

Why should I take part in the consultative ballot?

By giving us your views, we will be in a stronger position to make the case to the Government and others on why we need a Better Deal for Teachers.

The NASUWT National Executive is seeking support from a majority of members in the consultative ballot, before committing to running an official statutory ballot of members.

How will I receive my consultative ballot form?

The consultative ballot form will be issued to eligible members via email on 19 February.

For eligible members who have not provided details of a current email address, you will receive a letter to your home address with details of how to take part.

When do I need to return/submit my consultative ballot form?

You will need to return your consultative ballot form by midnight on 20 March.

Will members be asked to take industrial action following the consultative ballot?

No. This is a consultative ballot (not an official statutory ballot) where we are asking whether members would support industrial action if NASUWT undertook an official statutory ballot. By law, the Union can only ask members to take industrial action following an official statutory ballot.

Members will not be asked to take any industrial action as a result of the consultative ballot.

Will there be an official statutory ballot of members?

If a majority of members participate in the consultative ballot and are supportive of industrial action, the NASUWT National Action Committee will take the decision about the timing of an official statutory ballot of members.

When will the results of the consultative ballot be communicated to members?

We will be communicating the results of the consultative ballot to members by Sunday 31 March.

Why is NASUWT in dispute with the Government?

Every teacher deserves to have decent working conditions and to be highly paid for the important job they do.

However, feedback from NASUWT members across the country has found that the majority of teachers and headteachers are regularly working in excess of 50-60 hours every week and are concerned about their pay, with many voting with their feet - prematurely ending their careers and leaving the profession.

Members are also deeply concerned about the impact of the inspection and accountability system on their workload and wellbeing.

Work-related stress amongst teachers is now at a record high, causing serious harm to their careers and personal lives.

With workload pressures continuing to rise and real terms pay continuing to fall, we want the Government to accept that there is a need for immediate action to protect, recognise and reward teachers properly.

What do we want from the Government?

We want the Government to invest in the profession and we need your support so that we can continue to make the case to the Government for:

  • fully funded pay restoration, with an 8% pay award for all teachers and headteachers from September 2024;

  • a contractual limit on working hours of 35 per week;

  • additional measures to bring downward pressure on the workload of teachers and headteachers and to protect your working time rights (e.g. your right to a lunch break and to a proper work/life balance); and

  • changes to school inspection and accountability, which we know are key drivers of excessive workload and work-related stress.

NASUWT conducted a ballot of members last year. Why are members being asked for their views again now?

In summer 2023, our ballot of members delivered successful ballot mandates in thousands of schools across the country. As a result, NASUWT members were instrumental in forcing the Government to accept the recommendation of the STRB for a 6.5% pay award from September 2023. We also got the Government to provide additional funding for schools and academies to fund that pay award.

We further won important commitments from the Government on non-pay matters, including:

  • a promise to reduce average working hours of teachers and headteachers by five per week;

  • the establishment of a national Workload Reduction Taskforce;

  • changes to the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document to include the restoration of the list of tasks that teachers and headteachers should not undertake; and

  • a commitment to scrap the system of performance-related pay.

Whilst we welcome these commitments, our latest National Teacher Poll confirms that further improvements are needed.

For example, the constraints imposed on the STRB by the Government suggest that the Government does not believe that the 20% pay loss teachers have suffered over the last 14 years needs to be corrected.

The Government appears content to stand by and allow teachers and headteachers to work longer and harder for less and to watch as the profession is driven into the ground. Therefore, it’s important that a strong message is sent to the Government that teachers demand better.


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