Tens of thousands of teachers will strike this week resulting in the closure of some schools as members of the National Education Union (NEU) take part in three days of industrial action.

With little sign of a solution to the dispute on the horizon, teachers in the north of England will strike on Tuesday, followed by members in the Midlands and eastern regions on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the industrial action moves to London, the south of England and Wales, as the standoff continues between the government and the NEU, which is seeking a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise.

Kevin Courtney, the NEU joint general secretary, said he expected 200,000 teachers to take action over the course of the next three days, with numbers boosted by 50,000 new members joining since strike action was first announced in January.

“I think a majority of schools will be affected by the dispute,” he said. “Some of them with full closures and many more with partial closures. Some secondary schools will be completely closed, others will have particular year groups in and a similar pattern in lots of primary schools.”

This week’s action comes almost four weeks after the NEU staged its first day of strike action, which closed thousands of schools across the country – some partially, others entirely.

The Department for Education said 9.3% of state schools in England were entirely closed by the industrial action and 44.7% were left partially open with restricted attendance. Fewer than one in five secondary schools (17.4%) were fully open, compared with just 52.1% of primary schools.

Last week the government offered to move to formal talks on pay if the union agreed to suspend its planned strike action. The union rejected the offer, saying it would only pause the strike if there was significant progress.

Gillian Keegan, the education secretary, said the government had made a serious offer to the leaders of both the NEU and Royal College of Nursing to pause this week’s strikes in return for talks about pay, conditions and reforms.

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“It is hugely disappointing the NEU has thus far refused this serious offer and has not joined the RCN in calling off strikes,” she said. “Instead of sitting round a table discussing pay, the NEU will once again cause disruption for children and families.

“Children deserve to be in school, and further strike action is simply unforgivable, especially after everything children have been through because of the pandemic.”


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