Teachers strike to go ahead as NEU says education minister ‘squandered the opportunity’ to avoid strike action

The National Education Union is set to strike on February 1

A meeting between Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and teachers union leaders has failed to reach an agreement meaning Wednesday’s planned day of industrial action across England and Wales will go ahead as planned. The National Education Union (NEU) will continue with its plan of calling out its members as part of the biggest single day of industrial action seen in over a decade in the UK.

The strike on February 1 is the first of seven days in February and March announced by the NEU. This first day is expected to impact over 23,000 schools in England and Wales.

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The meeting between the education secretary and union leaders took place today and the education minister hoped it would be successful in convincing the NEU to cancel the strike.  Ahead of the meeting Ms Keegan wrote in the Telegraph over the weekend that she hoped “constructive discussion” would continue and that she was “disappointed” the strikes were going ahead.

Talking after the meeting, Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: "Gillian Keegan has squandered an opportunity to avoid strike action on Wednesday. The Government has been unwilling to seriously engage with the causes of strike action. Real-terms pay cuts and cuts in pay relativities are leading to a recruitment and retention crisis with which the education secretary so far seems incapable of getting a grip.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30: Protesters take part in a union rally on November 30, 2022 in London, England. Representatives of National Education Union (NEU), Communication Workers Union (CWU) and the public-service union Unison joined a rally by the University and College Union (UCU) amid strike action by staff at educational institutions across the UK. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30: Protesters take part in a union rally on November 30, 2022 in London, England. Representatives of National Education Union (NEU), Communication Workers Union (CWU) and the public-service union Unison joined a rally by the University and College Union (UCU) amid strike action by staff at educational institutions across the UK. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30: Protesters take part in a union rally on November 30, 2022 in London, England. Representatives of National Education Union (NEU), Communication Workers Union (CWU) and the public-service union Unison joined a rally by the University and College Union (UCU) amid strike action by staff at educational institutions across the UK. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

“Training targets are routinely missed, year on year. This is having consequences for learning, with disruption every day to children’s education. We can do better as a nation, for education, for our children, if we invest more. That is in the gift of this government. It should start with a fully-funded, above inflation pay rise for teachers."

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