Teacher strikes 2023: When the strikes are, which Merseyside schools will close and why the strikes are happening

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A number of teachers will strike across Liverpool and Merseyside.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) will strike in February and March, after members voted overwhelming in favour of strike action.

Teachers in state-funded schools across England and Wales will take part in the strike action, as well as support staff in Wales.

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The NEU is campaigning for a ‘fully-funded, above inflation pay rise’ and aiming to raise awareness of what they say is a lack of funding in schools.

Parents with children in primary and secondary schools across Merseyside are waiting to find out if their children will be able to attend school on the strike days, while officials undertake risk assessments and action plans.

Here is everything we know so far.

When will strike action take place?

Seven days of strike action are set to take place in February and March, however, any individual school will only be affected by four of them.

The full list of projected strike days are as follows and action that will affect Merseyside is highlighted:

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  • Wednesday 1 February 2023: all eligible members in England and Wales.
  • Tuesday 14 February 2023: all eligible members in Wales.
  • Tuesday 28 February 2023: all eligible members in the following English regions: Northern, North West, Yorkshire & The Humber.
  • Wednesday 1 March 2023: all eligible members in the following English regions: East Midlands, West Midlands, Eastern.
  • Thursday 2 March 2023: all eligible members in the following English regions: London, South East, South West.
  • Wednesday 15 March 2023: all eligible members in England and Wales.
  • Thursday 16 March 2023: all eligible members in England and Wales.

Why is strike action taking place?

The strike action is the result of an ongoing dispute between NEU members and the government. The NEU says that teachers have lost 23% in real-term pay cuts since 2010, with the government offering a pay rise of 5% in 2022. Strike action also aims to raise awareness of underfunding in schools.

Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretaries of the National Education Union, said:

“We have continually raised our concerns with successive education secretaries about teacher and support staff pay and its funding in schools and colleges, but instead of seeking to resolve the issue they have sat on their hands. It is disappointing that the Government prefers to talk about yet more draconian anti-strike legislation, rather than work with us to address the causes of strike action.

“The average 5% pay rise for teachers this year is some 7% behind inflation. In the midst of a cost of living crisis, that is an unsustainable situation.”

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The union is said to be considering a pay rise of 9% if the government fully funds it.

Will I find out in advance if my child’s class will be affected?

Teachers who are members of the NEU have no obligation to give advance notice of whether they intend to strike, so it can be difficult for school leaders to plan accordingly. However, many teachers are expected to give advance notice where they can about whether they intend to strike or not to help colleagues, parents and pupils - or make the decision not to take part in the strike action.

Although headteachers and school leaders hope to keep schools open, this may not be possible if a large number of teachers decide to strike. This means that schools could close, or attendence may be restricted to certain year groups or classes.

If schools need to restrict attendance, the government has asked that schools prioritise vulnerable children, children of critical workers and pupils who are due to take public examinations and other formal assessments.

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Are any schools in Merseyside planning to be closed on strike days?

Should I still send my child to school on strike days?

Children should still attend school as usual, unless you are advised otherwise by the school leaders.

What has the government said?

The Department for Education said: “ The Education Secretary and officials from the Department for Education (DfE) continue to meet the trades unions to try to prevent strike action. We are also working to support schools and their leaders to avoid children missing education and causing disruption to parents and families.

“We understand the pressures many teachers, like the rest of society, are facing now due to the challenge of high inflation.

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“Teachers do a job that is essential to our society and they do it brilliantly. We’re clear that their pay should reflect that which is why the pay rise teachers are receiving this year is the highest in a generation.

“Teachers will see pay rises of 5 to 8.9%, with new teachers receiving the highest uplift. This will take teacher starting salaries to £28,000, which is significant progress towards this government’s 2019 manifesto commitment of a £30,000 starting salary.”

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