The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT have announced an escalation of their current industrial action which could see a rolling programme of national strikes in June and the autumn.
It is part of the unions’ joint campaign against changes to teachers’ pay, pensions and workload.
The move follows claims by the unions that Michael Gove, the education secretary, has refused to “genuinely engage” with them to resolve their trade disputes and agree to their demands.
The next stage of the co-ordinated campaign will include a series of national rallies across England and Wales in April and May, a rolling programme of national strikes beginning in June, and the possibility of strike action continuing into the autumn term.
It also means the continuation of the current “action short of strike action” instructions. Between them, the unions represent 85 per cent of teachers in England and Wales.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “The time has come for the secretary of state to listen to the concerns of teachers and school leaders. He has recklessly pursued a relentless attack on the profession and teachers’ patience has been exhausted.
“The secretary of state still has time to avoid widespread disruption in schools by responding positively and quickly to the reasonable demands we are making.”
Her counterpart at the NUT, Christine Blower, said: “We have already rejected the new pension arrangements and the proposed deregulation of teachers’ pay.
“The attacks on pay and pensions, in combination with increasing workload, are making teaching an unsustainable option for many.
“The resolution to all the aspects of our dispute with the secretary of state is in his hands. He can respond positively and engage with us to seek a way forward. If there is no positive response to our reasonable demands, the joint strike action is inevitable.”
The industrial action will be discussed by members of both unions at their forthcoming annual conferences – the NASUWT meets in Bournemouth from March 29 to April 1, the NUT in Liverpool from March 29 to April 2.