What the school strikes mean for your child

3 mins read

Monday 23 January 2023

Last week, the National Education Union (NEU) announced seven days of industrial action in February and March across England and Wales.

Many families will be wondering what this means for their children. So below we try to cover the key facts you need to know.

When are teachers striking?

The NEU has said that teachers will strike on the following days:

  • 1 February: All schools in England and Wales
  • 14 February: All schools in Wales
  • 28 February: North and north-west England, Yorkshire and Humber
  • 1 March: East Midlands, West Midlands, and the NEU’s eastern region
  • 2 March: South-east and south-west England, and London
  • 15 and 16 March: All schools in England and Wales

In Scotland, teachers are currently taking part in 16 days of strikes. This has affected some primary and secondary schools, with more strike days planned in the coming weeks.

Does this affect all teachers?

No. Only teachers who are members of the NEU can strike.

In addition, the National Association of Head Teachers in England did not vote to take industrial action.

This means that the impact of the strikes on schools will vary.

Will my child’s school close?

This depends on the resources each school has on strike days.

In England, the decision to close the school lies with the headteacher. In Wales, the headteacher decides in consultation with the local authority. And in Scotland, local councils decide whether to keep the school open.

Look out for correspondence from your children’s schools about whether they plan to close the school when industrial action is taking place.

Could schools operate at a reduced level?

According to updated government guidance, this is a possibility.

And where this happens, the advice is that schools prioritise places for vulnerable children and young people and children of critical workers.

Again, we would advise you to look out for communication from your children’s schools about what their plans are. All schools will be impacted differently. They will be able to say what level of attendance they can accommodate.

Can I remove my child from school during strike days?

School attendance remains mandatory on strike days, so long as the school remains open.

Can I take time off to look after my child?

You can take time off work to deal with an emergency relating to a dependant, and you might be entitled to parental leave to care for your child.

See our webpage on flexible working and time off to find out more.