This week, children and parents face more disruption as teachers go on strike today (Wednesday) and Friday. 

The walkouts are the sixth and seventh national strike days by members of the National Education Union (NEU) in schools in England, after they voted in overwhelming numbers to take industrial action for a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise.

The Department for Education has said further strike action would cause "real damage" to pupils' learning.

However, the real damage to pupils' learning has been caused by the long-term underfunding in education, which has led to this social crisis and pushed teachers to act.


With little Johnny sat on the sofa vying for your attention while you work - my current situation as I type, it's tempting to bemoan teachers for taking strike action, leaving parents to juggle work and their little darlings - a residual nightmare from lockdown - but that temptation must be resisted.

Teachers have been pushed to their limits, with inadequate school budgets, growing class sizes, increasing numbers of children with special educational needs, the inability to recruit to posts, and relentless overtime.

They work unsustainable hours, both at school and when they get home, with the holidays of little recompense.

There are lengthy delays in CAMHS referral, leaving teachers administering 'sticking plasters' to children who desperately need specialist help. The long wait in getting this help only increases the likelihood of long-term mental health problems in the future - at great cost to the individuals and to the NHS.


Teachers are exhausted as they battle to provide the education pupils deserve. I have friends who are teachers and headteachers who cry - some on a daily basis - because no matter how many hours they put in, there is always more to do.

Ironically, I would wager that a significant proportion of teachers striking will be using the time at home to catch up on work.

They are passionate about supporting the children in their care - a quality the government has taken advantage of for far too long.

Teachers should be given a salary that reflects both workload and inflation.


There is a recruitment and retention crisis in teaching that cannot be ignored any longer.

In the latest survey of almost 18,000 NEU members, 16 per cent of teachers plan to leave the education profession within two years, and 41 per cent of teacher respondents plan to be gone within five years.

The main driver for teachers and leaders leaving the profession is the unsustainable workload.

Since the pandemic, 78 per cent of teachers in the NEU survey have also seen worsening levels of staff absence at their workplace due to sickness, 72 per cent a reduction in support staff, and for 66 per cent an increase in the rate of staff leaving their post.


The NEU is re-balloting its members to seek continued support for strike action in the autumn term.

Members of the National Association of Head Teachers and the NASUWT are also being re-balloted in England, after neither union reached the required threshold to hold strikes earlier in the year.

The NEU has also opened a formal strike ballot of support staff over the failure of government to provide adequate school funding.

The strike action is a desperate call from school staff for greater investment in education, which will ultimately benefit our children.

They are on their knees. Support them, please.