Teachers at Rishi Sunak’s old private school could soon be preparing to strike next month in a reported dispute over pay and pensions.
The prime minister is currently presiding over the largest wave of industrial action in decades, with teachers across the country voting this week to walk out of schools across the country over seven days between now and mid-March, in a dispute over pay.
Now staff at Winchester College – where Mr Sunak was once head boy – are expected to follow suit in taking strike action next month.
An indicative ballot among National Education Union members at the school found that 89 per cent were in favour of striking, with a turnout of 83 per cent, the union confirmed.
A formal ballot is now underway and is expected to return a mandate for strikes to take place next month, in a dispute over pay and pensions, according to The Times.
The strike at Winchester would potentially mark the first walkout over disagreements involving pay at a major independent school in the current wave of strikes, the paper reported.
Founded in 1382, Winchester College is among the most expensive schools in the UK, charging fees of £45,936 per year for boarders and £33,900 for day pupils.
The school is set to welcome a new headteacher in September, Elizabeth Stone, and moved last year to accept girls as day pupils for the first time, with plans to admit boarders by 2024.
Teachers and nurses announce more strike action in pay disputes
A new partnership signed with Winchester Council in November saw the school commit to offering more options for local families and expanded bursary provision.
In addition to Mr Sunak, the school’s alumni includes his political aide James Forsyth, British Union of Fascists founder Oswald Mosely, the late Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, ex-British Army chief Nick Carter and filmmaker Joss Whedon.
The school’s annual journal from 2020 listed Mr Sunak as a benefactor who has donated more than £100,000 in total to the institution. He has previously described his attendance at the school as a “really extraordinary” opportunity which “certainly put my life on a different trajectory”.
Winchester College declined to comment.