Teacher Strike Before Christmas?

By Jocelyn Levy | 2nd November 2020 | 7 min read

The new leader of the Nation Union of Teachers (NUT) has said there is a chance the union could strike again this term before the Christmas break. The union’s last strike took place as recently as July, but the changes to the national funding formula it is seeking have yet to materialise.

New Man in Charge

Kevin Courtney is the new head of the NUT. He was elected to replace Christine Blower, after a vote by the 300,000 member-strong union. The union voted for strike action early in the summer, and Kevin Courtney believes the mandate provided by that vote is still valid. He said:

“Realistically, I can envisage further strikes this term, but the union is making decisions as we go on that.

“We have a mandate for strike action from the summer, and we have to see what the Government is saying about the consultation on the national funding formula and in the autumn statement.

Persistent Recruitment Problems

Further strike action is a strong possibility because of real-term cuts the Union believes teachers are facing. The added costs schools are pouring into addressing teacher recruitment are stretching budgets to the limit. It’s not only the cost of finding permanent replacement teachers, but also the drain on budgets from the increasing use of substitute teachers that is causing problems. Kevin Courtney said:

“I am hearing from head teachers about other costs rising faster than inflation, especially to do with teacher recruitment difficulties.”

Teacher pay and recruitment is a long running cause for concern that the Government has been somewhat hesitant to recognise in the past. Kevin Courtney also said he had held positive talks with the new State Secretary for Education, Justine Greening, however, the likelihood of new strikes would suggest that the issues still persist.

Here at FasTrak, we provide solutions to schools that help them run more smoothly, efficiently and cost-effectively. But we aren’t kidding ourselves: It is great teachers that makes for great schools and for great education. As such, we hope the situation for teachers improves in the future and this persistent recruitment problem is tackled head-on and resolved without the need for further strike action.