Thanet teachers among those on today’s picket lines

Teachers in Ramsgate joining strike action in February

Teachers in Thanet have been among those taking to the picket lines today (February 1) in a dispute about pay.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) have held rallies, including one in Canterbury, and formed smaller picket line protests, including teachers from the Royal Harbour Academy in Ramsgate and St Peter’s Junior School.

In an ongoing campaign for a fully-funded, above inflation pay rise, teacher members of the National Education Union in England and Wales and support staff in Wales  voted overwhelmingly for strike action.

The union declared seven days of strike action for this month and March, though any individual school will only be affected by four of them.


The first took place today (February 1) affecting 23,400 schools in England and Wales. Teachers are protesting about pay but also over cuts to school budgets and the resulting recruitment crisis.

NEU rep Maggie Johnson, who works at Royal Harbour Academy, said: “What’s offered is not a funded pay rise, it means we are getting less to spend. Also our school’s pupil premium is  high and the money for this has to come from somewhere.

“Staff are even buying things themselves, like glue sticks, because we care about the students and want them to have a good education. The government needs to fund schools properly, youngsters are the most important thing and they are our future.”

Maggie, who joined the rally in Canterbury after being on the picket in Ramsgate, said the public had generally been supportive.

Upcoming strike days affecting the south east:

Thursday 2 March: all eligible members in the following English regions: London, South East, South West.

Wednesday 15 March: all eligible members in England and Wales.

Thursday 16 March: all eligible members in England and Wales.

Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretaries of the National Education Union, said: “We have continually raised our concerns with successive education secretaries about teacher and support staff pay and its funding in schools and colleges, but instead of seeking to resolve the issue they have sat on their hands. It is disappointing that the Government prefers to talk about yet more draconian anti-strike legislation, rather than work with us to address the causes of strike action.

“This is not about a pay rise but correcting historic real-terms pay cuts. Teachers have lost 23% in real-terms since 2010, and support staff 27% over the same period. The average 5% pay rise for teachers this year is some 7% behind inflation. In the midst of a cost of living crisis, that is an unsustainable situation.”

Outside St Peters school in Broadstairs Photo Rob Yates

The NEU says pay for experienced teachers has fallen by one fifth in real terms since 2010.

Teachers are being offered a five per cent rise this year but the NEU says this is a seven per cent cut due to soaring inflation.

The NEU adds: “Children are losing out because there are not enough teachers. Even when there is a teacher in the classroom, increasingly they are not qualified in the subject they are teaching.

“Parents and grandparents hear their children and grandchildren talking about ‘new’ teachers in the middle of the school year; of lessons being ‘covered’ by supply teachers, of teachers leaving. Lack of qualified teachers harms the education that children and young people receive.

“To save education, we must take action to ensure that educators get an inflation-plus pay increase.”

Strike action took place after talks with Education Secretary Gillian Keegan failed.

Ms Keegan said the strike action was “hugely disappointing.”

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  1. One local schools utility bill last year was £138,000 this year it’s £628,000 the government have given them £50,000 towards it. So when the education secretary says l they have given schools £138 million that it a drip in the ocean to the cost of running schools nothing to do with teachers pay

  2. If people on benefits deserve the inflation matching ‘pay’ rise the government announced, then so do teachers, health care workers etc. Hat’s off to everyone that went on strike today and shame on the scabs that didn’t.

  3. The government seem to be totally blind to reality and treat public employees with utter contempt whilst at the same time the government have some very dodgy members among them.
    The strikers are not wrong the government are the ones that are very wrong.

  4. Teachers’ pay has dropped by 10% over the past ten years, compared with what it would have been if they’d been given annual cost of living increases.
    So they’re not striking for a pay rise. Just parity.

  5. When govt ministers can “accidentally” not pay £millions, then how on earth will they ever understand how a single teacher with a student loan, probably a car loan, £200 a month energy bills, facing fuel at £1.50 a litre and at least £800 for one room flat, would even need a pay rise? To pay their butler perhaps!

  6. Disgraceful, holiday every SIX WEEKS, and earn decent wage for 8.30 to 3.30 hours and underrated and underpaid teaching or classroom assistance doing the donkey work. They should try living in the real world, out at 4am not home until gone 5 or 6 6 days a week with only 3 or 4 weeks holiday a year, putting in some proper graft with no breaks. Teachers and fireman are a joke. If you don’t like it don’t get in the profession you did so for the perks out weighing the minor issues.

    • Quite agree steve,can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen,when I wanted more pay i either changed jobs,or found a second job ,at times I worked 84 hours a week ,which an hour travelling each way teachers have it easy, most first day of holiday are on flights to go Europe and beyond ,and then moan they have no money

      • They have better pay because they strike. You had to get a second job because you didn’t strike. It’s really not that hard to understand.

        • I did strike ,when I worked in a major bakery ,but you never really get your money back in the pay rise that ensure ,it took months of the new pay rise to offSet the loses of the strike ,and low and behold ,we needed another pay rise,and on and on it goes .If teachers cannot get by on £37k a year ,maybe they ought get lessons on budgetary matters ,most people get by on much less and have less perks

    • Why did you do all those hours 6 days a week with barely any holiday Steve? You could have just been a teacher and got a TA to do all your work for you. Sounds like you made some poor life decisions.

      • It’s ok to strike when you work for the government,private companies,get their money back on pay rises given ,through job losses,due to the way work is done,I doubt no private company has never done this, in the aftermath of a strike

      • No I didn’t want to strike ,but I had a young family and I had only just got the job ,life is not ,as clear as black or white, maybe you have never been put in that situation

      • You took the words out of my mouth.
        If teaching was such a dream job,,with huge salary, months of paid leave, no graft, then why do folk endure grinding misery, getting up at the crack of dawn, working all the hours that God gave for a pittance, just a few days’ holiday a year, when they could just become a teacher?
        I wonder why, if the profession is so wonderful, why recruitment and retention are a problem?

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