Members of a school leaders’ union have overwhelmingly rejected the Government’s pay offer.
Nine in 10 members of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), who took part in an online consultative ballot, voted down the deal.
Nearly four in five (78%) NAHT members said they would be prepared to vote for industrial action, up to and including strike action, if the offer was rejected.
The union’s executive will now meet to discuss next steps – which could include holding a second formal ballot on industrial action.
Schools in England face five days of teacher walkouts in the summer term and possible action in the autumn as the National Education Union (NEU) is set to re-ballot members in the ongoing dispute over pay.
The teaching union announced two further strike days on April 27 and May 2 on Monday after 98% of its members, who responded in a consultative ballot, voted to turn down the Government’s pay offer.
After a period of intensive talks with unions, the Government offered teachers a £1,000 one-off payment for the current school year (2022/23) and an average 4.5% pay rise for staff next year (2023/24).
Last week, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, said industrial action by school leaders would be “necessary” if its members decided to reject the Government’s “inadequate” pay offer.
Overall, 64% of NAHT members in England responded to the school leaders’ union’s consultative ballot, with 90% voting to reject the offer.
More than nine in 10 (92%) said the offer was unaffordable and they said they did not have the room in their budget to be able to afford the proposed pay offer for the next academic year (2023/24).
On the result of the vote, Mr Whiteman said: “This is a conclusive response to the Government’s offer. It has been judged inadequate and unaffordable.
“Our members do not recognise the Government’s calculations on the affordability of the offer, with the vast majority of head teachers and school business leaders saying they could not pay the rise from their existing budgets.
“This is a very clear stumbling block and one the Government must listen to and solve if we hope to bring this dispute to an end.”
In January, a ballot of NAHT members failed to meet the mandatory 50% turnout threshold required for strike action.
But the NAHT has suggested it could move to a second formal industrial action ballot.
Members of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and NASUWT teaching union have also been asked for feedback on the pay offer.
Overall, 87% of ASCL members, who took part in a survey on the pay offer, voted to turn down the deal. The turnout was 56% in the consultative ballot.
The ASCL’s executive committee will reconvene after the Easter break to consider its next steps.
A Department of Education (DfE) spokeswoman said: “After costing children almost a week of time in the classroom and with exams fast approaching, it is extremely disappointing that the NEU are re-balloting for more strike action up until Christmas this year.”
She added: “The offer was funded, including major new investment of over half a billion pounds, and helps tackle issues teachers are facing like workload.
“NEU, NAHT and ASCL’s decision to reject this offer will simply result in more disruption for children and less money for teachers today.”