February 1, 2023, teachers across England and Wales went on strike in a nationwide protest over pay and working conditions.
The strike was organised by several teaching unions, including the National Education Union (NEU), the largest teaching union in the UK, and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).
The teachers are demanding a fair pay increase and better working conditions, including smaller class sizes, adequate resources, and more support for students with special needs. The unions have called for a 5% pay rise for all teachers, along with a reduction in workload and an increase in funding for schools.
The strike caused widespread disruption, with many schools closing or operating on reduced hours. The strike was widely supported by teachers and parents, who have become increasingly concerned about the state of education in the UK.
Workers at colleges and universities, government employees, and transit workers have also gone on strike.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said "the majority" of schools would be partially open. Because of the large number of striking teachers, it is uncertain how teaching will go in particular primary and secondary schools.
As reported by the NEU, 85% of educational institutions are feeling the effects. Statistics on school closures are scheduled to be released later today by the Department of Education.
Support workers have joined striking teachers in Wales, where members of the National Association of Head Teachers have taken non-strike measures.
Ms. Keegan supported the government's record on school funding, telling BBC Breakfast that it "makes no sense to give inflation-busting pay rises to some of the workforce" at a time when prices are rising for everyone.
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The strike comes after years of cuts to education funding, which have led to larger class sizes, reduced resources, and an increased workload for teachers. Students have also been hurt by the lack of support and resources. For example, many schools have trouble giving students with special needs the help they need.
The government has responded to the strike by promising to increase funding for schools, but the unions have called for concrete action, including a fair pay increase for all teachers. The strike has drawn attention to the need for improved working conditions for teachers and better support for students and has sparked a national debate about the future of education in the UK.
The school strike in England and Wales highlights the need for a fair pay increase for teachers, better working conditions, and increased support for students. The strike has sparked a national conversation about the future of education and the importance of investing in our schools and teachers. We hope that the government will take the concerns of teachers and parents seriously and take concrete steps to improve the state of education in the UK.