Guidance from the National Education Union (NEU) suggests that teachers who agree to attend school on strike days to help “minimise disruption to Year 11 and 13 exam preparation” should be paid in full.
The guidance says that once teachers have helped the students should leave which comes as fresh strikes are set to go ahead this summer which could be the largest seen since the 1980s which will start on 27 April until 2 May.
The NEU said it recognises that it is “appropriate to seek agreements with headteachers” which allow students to attend school on the planned strike days only “for revision activities or exam practice.”
If the NEU reps and headteachers agree to the arrangements, then the union will ask their members to “participate where needed but they cannot be compelled.”
The guidance says, “If, in extremis and only by prior agreement with the NEU, members are asked to attend school for part of the day to supervise a specific exam group, then they should attend for this purpose only and leave work afterwards.”
The guidance adds: “Agreement should be sought from the headteacher that no pay is to be docked even if the member has not worked the full day.”
The union are planning five days of strikes after rejecting the government’s pay offer of an average 4.5% pay rise for next year and a one off £1,000 payment for the current school year.
Last month the Education Secretary Gillian Keegan suggested that teachers could miss out on the increased pay deal this year if they turn down the offer and said that their pay is decided by the independent pay review body.
The latest guidance from the NEU says, “Only the Government, by coming back to the negotiating table with a much-improved offer, can eliminate that disruption altogether and avert these upcoming strikes.”
It adds, “Should employers attempt to impose arrangements that are not agreed by NEU reps and members in a school, the NEU retains the right to remove this dispensation guidance for exam year group provision.
“In any case, if no agreement can be found, the default position is that members cannot be obliged to make any dispensation arrangements for Year 11 and Year 13 provision.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL, said, “We are supportive of this guidance from the NEU as a sensible measure which preserves the right to strike while seeking to ensure that there is provision for students who will shortly be taking exams.
“The details of local arrangements, including the question of pay, are a matter for agreement between employers and NEU reps and officials.
“We agree with the NEU that only the Government can eliminate disruption altogether by coming back to the negotiating table with a much-improved pay offer.
“This must happen in order to address pay erosion and teacher shortages, and it must be fully funded. So far, the Government has not made any attempt to reopen negotiations.”