Strikes have been dominating the news across the UK in recent months. With a combination of Royal Mail and the NHS, many have been impacted. However, the most recent strike news is that schools are now looking to strike.

The Ballots

There are currently three unions looking for strike action, these include National Education Union (NEU), NASUWT and NAHT. With all three ballots closing by the end of this week, we will know whether strikes will be going ahead by early next week. 

Ballots will have to meet a 50% turnout threshold, with 40% of eligible members voting “yes” in order to be lawful. Should this be the outcome, strikes could happen as soon as the last week in January. 

If you are a member of one of the above unions, you can contact them directly for further information. 

Schools Remaining Open

There are currently no “minimum” safe staffing levels within schools. This could be subject to change with the government already in discussion to address this in the coming months. However, current regulations mean that schools can remain open, under the decision of the Head Teacher, with the remaining staff taking on more extensive classes, with limited support. 

Under new laws, striking staff can be replaced with agency staff. This means that schools are able to remain open to as many students as possible, which is currently being encouraged by the government. However, this too is currently at the discretion of the Head Teacher. 

Here at The Learning College, we work closely with a number of agencies across England, if you would like further information or contact details please contact us today and we will be happy to assist you.

Will TAs be affected?

If the planned strikes go ahead, there will be an impact on Teaching Assistants, although, this could look different depending on the school and the area. 

In some cases, where striking staff are not being replaced, HLTA’s will be required to take on further duties to help support the running of the school where possible. 

In other schools and areas, Head Teachers have made the decision to keep schools closed during strike action. The main impact on TAs here is that they receive a day off! However, this should be cleared up by the Head Teacher as while the school may be closed, there may be other tasks that can be undertaken during the downtime. 

The current climate and potential for strike action mean that for many schools we are looking to save money where possible. While we appreciate this, we also urge you to not forget that the end of the financial year is upon us, and there is no better place to invest your remaining funding back into the team that keeps your school going. 

If you are interested in enrolling any of your team on one of our Teaching Assistant courses, or would like to know more about the courses or services that we offer, please get in contact with the team today.