Striking teachers are to target the political backyards of Rishi Sunak and the education secretary Gillian Keegan in the next step of their campaign for a pay rise.
Demonstrations are being planned in the prime minister and Ms Keegan’s constituencies at the end of this month.
They will coincide with the next round of walkouts which will target regional areas one by one, starting with schools in Yorkshire and surrounding areas, where Mr Sunak is the local MP.
Kevin Courtney, the joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU) said: “These politicians (Mr Sunak and Ms Keegan) are making decision which impact on every child’s education. And it is important that they realise that. We want the public and our members to bring the reality of the situation in our schools home to the politicians who are making these decisions. “
The Independent has been told the rallies were recently brought up in a meeting between unions and the Department for Education on the strikes. Sources said Ms Keegan asked union leaders: “Are you the ones who are organising the demonstration in my constituency?”
As it steps up its campaign the NEU is also calling on parents to contact their local MP to urge more investment in their child’s education.
An estimated 200,000 teachers walked out at the start of the month when the NEU called a national strike and brought out all its members in England and Wales.
The next stage of the strikes will target regional areas in turn. The first, on 28 February, will include the prime minister’s constituency of Richmond in Yorkshire.
A rally is also due to be held in his seat as the union tries to hammer home its message to his constituents.
The next day there will be walkouts across the Midlands, while the final day of the three-day action will target London and the south and will feature what the union hopes will be a large demonstration in Chichester, where Ms Keegan is the sitting MP.
The union has announced seven days of strikes across the country before the middle of March but promised that each individual school will be affected on only four of those days.
Ms Keegan has taken a hardline on the strikes warning teachers that the stakes have never been higher and that they risk affecting the education of children who already lost out on months in the classroom because of the Covid pandemic.
But teachers say they have a mandate to strike and that, like nurses, they are also protesting what they say is a lack of investment in schools.
Earlier this week the NEU suspended a planned strike in Wales after receiving a new pay offer from the Welsh government.
The union said the willingness of the Welsh government to engage was in “stark contrast” to the position taken by Westminster and Ms Keegan.
In England and Wales, the average teacher pay rise is 5 per cent. But with inflation at more than 10 per cent, unions say this amounts to a pay cut in real terms.North of the border Scotland’s largest teaching union this week announced “targeted” strike action to take place in the constituencies of key Scottish politicians, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.Ms Keegan said the NEU’s disruptive action was “deeply disappointing”.
She said conversations with unions were ongoing and she would continue discussions around pay as well as workload, recruitment and retention.
Downing Street and the Department for Education have been approached for comment.