Unions tell members to keep head teachers in the dark over strike

Schools struggle to plan for strike as unions tell members to keep their head teachers in the dark

  • The government has encouraged teachers to tell their schools if they’re striking
  • Read more: Schoolchildren could be in classes of up to 60 on Wednesday 

Parents have been left in limbo over school walkouts as strike secrecy leaves headteachers unable to plan. 

The government has urged the National Education Union (NEU) to keep headteachers informed of which teachers plan to strike so that schools can plan lessons for Wednesday. 

Advice on the union’s website stresses that teachers do not have to tell schools if they plan to strike, The Times reports. 

Thousands of schools are expected to be affected by tomorrow’s strikes as teachers walk out, demanding higher pay. 

Teachers gather to demonstrate as they continue their strike demanding a raise of wages and enhancing of their working conditions in Edinburgh, Scotland on January 27

But headteachers have said they have been left in limbo by the union’s decision to encourage staff not to communicate, describing the situation as ‘stressful’.  

The NEU – which has seen thousands of members join from other unions since the strike was announced on January 16 – will tell schools how many staff are union members. 

But individual teachers do not have an obligation to let schools know that they will be striking before Wednesday.  

The advice on the union’s website states: ‘Individual NEU members do not have to tell their employer whether they personally intend to take part in strike action. If your head teacher or principal asks you to tell them or sign a form, you DO NOT have to do so.’

The website adds that if headteachers ask teachers to say whether they are going on strike, the NEU representative at each school should advise members that they do not have to answer.  

One headteacher said on Twitter that most of their teachers were exercising their right not to tell them if they were striking and said this made the action more ‘stressful’. 

Polling suggests up to half of all schools in England and Wales could be closed to some or all pupils. 

In a survey by TeacherTapp, 14 per cent of teachers said their school would not be open and a further 53 per cent of secondary school teachers said some pupils would not be able to go to school.

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