New rules to stop schools shutting during teacher union strikes – what it means for parents and kids | The Sun
TEACHING unions will be banned from shutting schools during strikes under a government crackdown to ease the disruption on kids.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has today announced a minimum service level requirement for schools and colleges.
She has today written to the unions asking them to voluntarily keep enough staff in classrooms during walkouts – with the threat of legal enforcement should they refuse.
It means unions would be expected to ensure some level of staffing is provided on strike days so schools are not forced to completely shut.
Pupils and parents suffered last academic year as 10 days of strike action saw a total 25million school days lost.
Ms Keegan said: “Last year’s school strikes were some of the most disruptive on record for children, and their parents.
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“We cannot afford a repeat of that disruption – particularly as schools and teachers continue to work so hard to help children recover from the pandemic.”
After months of strike action, ministers finally reached a pay agreement with the four biggest teaching unions last summer.
Today’s announcement of minimum service levels will be viewed by many as heading off more strikes this coming year.
Similar measures have already been announced for the NHS and railway workers following mass strife in the sectors.
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The Minimum Service Level Act provides legal backing for such powers.
Ms Keegan said: “I am asking the teaching unions to engage with us and agree to put children and young people’s education first – and above and beyond any dispute.”
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