Schools and Colleges update

Department for Education written statement – made at on 20 October 2023.

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Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan The Secretary of State for Education

Today I am announcing my intention to pursue Minimum Service Levels in education. In the first instance, I will look to proceed through voluntary agreement. I have written to the teaching unions inviting them to discuss minimum service levels proposals in the hope an agreement can be reached on a voluntary basis.

If we cannot reach an agreement, I will use powers within The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 which allows the Secretary of State to make regulations to set minimum service levels for schools and colleges in the event of strike action. At such a time I will launch a consultation on how minimum service levels could be implemented. This consultation will build on the consultation in higher education announced on 2nd October.

The Government remains committed to ensuring that children and young people are not disadvantaged because of any future strike action. This year’s school strikes were part of the biggest outbreak of industrial action in a generation, with far reaching consequences across the education system. Cumulatively over 25 million school days have been lost over 10 strike days in schools alone. Disruption caused by strike action has only compounded the detrimental impact of the Covid pandemic on children’s and young peoples’ learning.

Either through voluntary agreements or legislation we will introduce minimum service levels to protect children and students from disruption to their education during periods of industrial action.