Teacher’s Strikes Affecting Oxfordshire

Teacher’s Strikes And Where Will Be Affected

The teachers’ unions across England and Wales have advised that the ballot has been returned in favour of industrial action and will take place over seven days in February and March 2023.

The National Education Union NEU have returned the ballot in favour of their members taking industrial action in a dispute focused on a pay increase.

Schools will shut on most of these days, although some local authorities and the Headteachers Union are in discussions as to which schools may remain open and implement partial closures.

Empty classroom due to teacher's strike
Empty classrooms will be a feature of the teacher’s strike

Is Oxfordshire Affected?

As with all regions and counties across England and Wales, Oxfordshire will be affected by school closures on strike days. Teachers across the county will be implementing industrial action and invoking their right to strike on allocated days.

Individual schools will contact parents with an update on Friday, January 27, to advise of their intended closures. It has been recommended that parents keep in touch with the schools or colleges of their children.

Agency staff and volunteers can be used to cover classes, and teachers do not have to stick to the curriculum. There are no minimum staffing rules.

Even Independent Private Schools Are Striking

The teachers at Prime Minister’s former school, Winchester College, have voted in favour of strike action.

Eighty-nine per cent of staff balloted voted in favour of strike action on a turnout of 83 per cent. A formal ballot has begun and is expected to return a mandate for industrial action, which will take place next month.

Industrial action could spread across independent schools: The NEU confirmed today that it was making a statutory application for trade union recognition at Radley College.

Can I Get Time Off Work?

You should check with your employer for specific guidance, such as whether it will pay you for the time off.

Your employer must accept reasonable time off in England, Scotland and Wales. If you think they are treating you unfairly, ask for advice from your union (if you have one) or the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).

You might also be able to take unpaid parental leave.

Will Teacher’s Strikes Affect Vulnerable Children

Vulnerable children will be affected, but measures are currently being implemented for those most vulnerable.

Schools must support children eligible for benefits-related free school meals which cannot attend school during strikes; This might involve schools giving children food parcels.

Again check with your own individual school and head teacher.

Teachers Strike Dates

The NEU strike dates in England and Wales are:

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

NEU teachers in sixth-form colleges in England, who have already been striking in a separate pay dispute, will also walk out on these dates.

Teachers strike is about money so image of waord salary on yellow background
Teacher are asking for more money

Why are teachers striking?

It is about pay.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies says teachers’ salaries in England fell by an average of 11% between 2010 and 2022 if considering rising prices.

Most state-school teachers in England and Wales had a 5% rise in 2022. In Northern Ireland, many teachers were offered 3.2% for 2021/22 and 2022/23.

In Scotland, teachers have rejected a 5% increase and a more recent offer of up to 6.85%.

Parents Options

Most parents are in some way going to affected on days when the teacher’s strike as most schools in Oxfordshire will be closed. That said some will remain open but that only looks likely for the most vulnerable of students.

As this is going to affect so many people, employers will have to be more aware of parents needs on strike days. Surprisingly there is no legislation for this in the UK so it will be at the discretion of employers, however as mentioned above your employer cannot refuse time off as explained in Teacher Strikes & Employees Rights l Employment Law l Nelsons (nelsonslaw.co.uk)

Is There Any End To The Teacher’s Strikes?

This is an open ended question as the government and the Teacher’s Unions are currently in negotiations but as yet, no resolution or agreement has been reached.

The seven strike days announced for England and Wales may just be the start of a long a protracted negotiation.