Yesterday, my daughter Jemma went on strike. She was the only teacher from her school to do so even though there were other staff in the NEU at her school.
Why did it come to this?
The Institute for Fiscal Studies have calculated that long-serving and senior teachers – accounting for nearly a third of those working in England – would have earned the equivalent of £50,300 in 2010. But below-inflation wage increases over the past 12 years has meant their pay in 2022 was just £43,700.
Experienced teachers have experienced similar real-terms cuts across the national pay scale, meaning that half of the teaching workforce has had the value of their annual earnings fall by thousands of pounds compared with what they would have earned in 2010, when the Conservative party came into government.
By contrast, average earnings across the whole economy are thought to have increased by about 2% in real terms during the same period. MPs, for example, earn £18,306 more per year than they did in 2010.
Dwindling pay is one of the main reasons for the government is missing recruitment targets, and why it faces shortages in specialist subjects such as physics, which are forcing schools to rely on non-specialists to plug gaps in classrooms.
It is a fact that nearly a third of teachers leave the profession within five years of qualifying.
So the issues the government faces are recruitment and retention.
Did they want to go on strike? Definitely not! My daughter has already lost a day's pay and stands to lose three more days pay if the impasse is not resolved.
PS She is right behind the bloke in the brown jacket and the one with a bald head - centre right of the photo.
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