I’m a teacher – here’s why I voted to go on strike

Teachers in England will be going on strike again after turning down a government pay offer. Members of the National Education Union are now set to walk out on 27 April and 2 May.

Anjum Peerbacos is among those who rejected the pay offer – and here she explains why…

As a north London teacher of both GCSE and A-level classes, the first thing that came to mind when the further strike action was proposed was how many lessons my pupils would have left prior to their exams starting.

The last thing I want to do is reduce the amount of teaching time between now and then.

But I genuinely feel that I have no choice but to reject the offer that has been made – not just for me and my career but for the profession as a whole.

I recall being in a meeting of school leaders not that long ago and having a discussion about how we were going to afford paper and glue. Can you believe it? We are in the sixth richest country in the world and having to think about how to afford paper – in a school.

School budgets have been systematically eroded and depleted over the last 13 years. When I started my career, it felt like education was a huge priority, however now it is about making ends meet.

I know that it may seem greedy or unreasonable to continue the strike action, however I am completely aware of how decimated school budgets are.

I am not sure if the general public is aware that the energy crisis has also hit schools. At the beginning of the school year, our headteacher told us that we had been hit with a 377% increase in energy costs.

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During COVID, I think that many people and especially parents realised how challenging the teaching profession can be. However now that the profession has asked for a salary and working conditions to reflect the challenges, those pleas are falling on deaf ears.

I know some teachers that are taking second jobs to supplement their incomes and with inflation in the UK currently at 10.4%, how are teachers meant to survive on the pay offer that has been put on the table?

In Scotland, teachers will receive a further 2% increase in pay from January next year. They will have a 14.6% increase in pay for most teachers by January 2024.

Are teachers in England not worthy of the same?