As you know I don't like it and see it as counterproductive - worse striking undermines the idea of teaching as a professional vocation. More to the point, the Unions are dressing the dispute up as something far grander than it is in reality:
“The teachers who marched are not political activists, they are here for education and are concerned about young people entering the profession and their future.
“This has been a very important show of solidarity, the two unions represent 90 per cent of all teachers, and we are standing up for education.”
If the strike is about policy rather than the self-interest of teachers then, if my understanding is right, it is illegal. So it isn't about that at all:
We are asking that he establishes a series of meetings with the NUT and NASUWT, chaired by himself to address the issues under dispute and that he suspends the implementation of the changes proposed to the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document, pending the outcome of these discussions. We are also asking that he publish the valuation of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme conducted on the basis of the 2010 criteria and factors.
Not about children at all. Nor is it about qualifications. Or free schools. Or academies. Or indeed the education policies of the government. It's absolutely and specifically about the proposed changes to teachers' pay and conditions.
And those pay and conditions result from the recommendations of an independent body - the School Teachers' Review Body. This body has proposed:
The STRB has recommended an increase of 1% from September 2013 in the values of:Get that folks - the STRB is proposing a pay increase! And - wait for it - the government has "...accepted all of the key recommendations in the report." Plus there's a consultation period with the Unions and other relevant partners running for a month.
- all points on the unqualified, main and upper pay scales for classroom teachers (including main scale points which will be discretionary reference points for pay decisions thereafter)
- the minimum and maximum of the pay range for leading practitioners and all pay ranges for individual posts set before taking account of the September 2013 uplift
- all points on the leadership pay spine
- any individual allowances in payment and to the minima and the maxima of the ranges of all teacher allowance
What the teachers' unions want is for the government to ignore the recommendations of an independent body (and not one of recent invention either) to impose a more favourable settlement - one using up more of that precious resource going to schools.
Either that or the 'dispute' is simply a canard and this really is a political strike and not a genuine dispute.