ISLE of Wight teachers are poised to strike twice in the next three weeks after rejecting the government’s latest pay offer.

Earlier this month, the National Education Union labelled the government’s pay offer as ‘insulting’, paving the way for two walk outs on April 27 and May 2.

The government said it offered teachers £1,000 for the current school year, on top of an average 5.4 per cent rise last September, and an average 4.5 per cent rise next year.

Some 98 per cent of those who voted rejected the offer, and the NEU said between 42 per cent and 58 per cent of schools would have to make cuts to afford it.

Disruption is likely, and a number of Island schools could be forced to close if the strikes go ahead.

The NEU says only the government, by coming back to the negotiating table with a much-improved offer, can eliminate that disruption altogether and avert these upcoming strikes.

"The union has notified employers that we are calling all teacher members to take strike action on April 27 and May 2," said a spokesperson for the union. 

"Given the proximity of our next strike days to the public examinations, the NEU recognises that it is appropriate to seek agreements with head teachers that permit exam year students (year 11 and 13) to attend school on our strike days for revision activities or exam practice.

"Dispensation to minimise disruption to Year 11 and Year 13 exam preparation is to be negotiated by NEU reps and headteachers as equal partners in making arrangements that work for each school."

Isle of Wight NEU secretary, Peter Shreeve, said: “Their anger and frustration are as much about the effect of sustained austerity on schools as the effect on their own pockets.

"Island teachers are frustrated with the unacceptable government stance.

"Since the vote was announced on April 3, it feels as if the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, has done little to make progress.

"Teaching is challenging; worsened by more than a decade of real-term cuts to pay and school funding, increasing workload, as well as a dubious high-stakes Ofsted inspection regime.

"Schools are too often struggling to provide qualified subject specialists.

"The Education Secretary must start to value education.

"This is why we have asked our MP Bob Seely to meet with a handful of teachers and support staff, so that they can share their views.”