As a result of union leaders' support for a new pay offer, teacher demonstrations are likely to end in England.
The government has proposed a 6.5% pay increase, which both parties of the dispute claim is "properly funded" and will not come from school budgets already in place. The four unions involved will now recommend acceptance of the agreement to their members.
If members approve, they will not hold any additional strikes in the upcoming term, which was a possibility. Since February, there have been seven national strikes by National Education Union (NEU) members.
The four teacher unions have demanded a pay increase that exceeds inflation, as well as additional funds to ensure that any increase does not come from existing budgets. Currently, inflation stands at 8.7% according to sources.
Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, told sources that she would advise members to "bank" this September 2023 offer. She also mentioned that if members would accept this agreement, the present pay dispute would be resolved for this year.
During the national strikes, many schools were closed in full or in part, requiring parents to take time off work or seek alternative child care. And Sally Haslewood of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, who has two daughters in seventh and ninth grade, is "absolutely delighted" that they may be coming to an end.
The government claims it will provide schools with an additional £525 million in 2023-24 and £900 million in 2024-25 from the Department of Education's (DfE) budget in order to pay for the pay increase. The official representative for the prime minister stated that savings would result from "reprioritisation" within government departments.
He added that this would result in fewer civil-service traineeships and "skills boot camps" at the Department for Education.Gillian Keegan, the secretary of education, stated that ministers were "painstakingly examining every single budget line to determine where we do not need to spend all of the anticipated funds."
Gillian Keegan also mentioned that they anticipate that there will be underspending on certain items or that certain items will have changed. We essentially have permission from the Treasury to transfer those funds in order to finance the additional pay.
The unions assert that no funds will be diverted from special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or continuing education provisions - or from funds required to ensure the safety of school buildings. Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, stated that according to their understanding, a portion of the funds will be recouped by the Treasury from unspent allocations.
This week, the National Foundation for Educational Research warned that a 6.5% pay increase wouldn't be enough to resolve hiring and retaining issues in the teaching profession and called for a new long-term strategy.
According to James Zuccollo of the Education Policy Institute, the 6.5% incentive does not adequately compensate the vast majority of teachers for inflationary increases over the past decade. Scertain schools may struggle to pay educators the full raise due to insufficient funding.