MINISTERS have come under fire after it emerged that prelim exams have had to be rescheduled due to the ongoing teachers strike as concerns emerge that more stoppages are to come.

Secondary teachers have gone on strike today after almost all primary schools secondary teachers went on strike on Tuesday in an ongoing pay dispute.

Ministers have admitted they are "some distance" apart from unions on resolving the pay dispute as 11th hour talks on Monday failed.

Scotland's education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has admitted to MSPs that negotiations will have to continue "as there remains some distance between us at this time".

Union leaders have previously hit out at the "lack of urgency" in dealing with the row.

Some pupils who were due to sit preliminary exams on Wednesday have now had those postponed while revision schedules have also been disrupted.

READ MORE: Scottish school strikes: Full list of dates and closures by council

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland, NASUWT, Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association and the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland have a mandate to strike this week.

They also have planned a third walk-out of 2023 which will see 24-hour actions in different local authorities over 17 days between January 20 and February 6.

Unions rejected a 5% pay increase, arguing for 10%, although the offer includes rises of up to 6.85% for the lowest paid staff.

As teachers gathered at picket lines in the second day of action,  Mike Corbett, national Scotland official of  NASUWT said a small number of schools would have to reschedule prelims scheduled for Wednesday.

He added he had not heard of the shift causing "any particular problems" for those schools.

He said: “As we’ve said all along, I don’t think any of our members want to be out on strike today but despite some talks and pay negotiations there’s still no revised pay offer on the table, it’s the same offer as in November and they feel pushed into a corner.”

One student told the Herald that he had his English prelim rescheduled to a week ago, on January 4.

He said: "It left me with no master class, not time in school and no study leave before the prelim.  The government should fork out and give teadhers what they want because it is affecting the education of many people."

Scottish Conservative shadow cabinet secretary for education Stephen Kerr MSP said: “Scotland’s young people deserve so much better than this mounting disruption, the blame for which rests squarely on the shoulders of Shirley-Anne Somerville.

"The rescheduling of pupils’ prelim exams due to strikes is another disruption that could have been avoided if the SNP education secretary had shown any interest in engaging with Scotland’s beleaguered teachers.

“Scottish students must have access to a stable education, especially after the pandemic. It is disgraceful that pupils who are approaching vital exams are now being denied this, and experiencing further uncertainty at an already unsettling time.


“It is appalling that young Scots continue to be penalised due to the SNP’s complacency. How much longer will pupils be forced to pay the price for Shirley-Anne Somerville’s shameful inaction?”

Ms Somerville was at the centre of a row over the failure to resolve the dispute when she faced MSPs on Tuesday.

She said: "The best way of mitigating this impact [of teachers strikes] is to avoid industrial action. Strikes in our schools are in no-one's interests least for for pupils, parents and carers who have already faced significant disruption over the past three years.

" I remain absolutely committed to working closely with our union and local government partners to try and reach a deal on teachers' pay, which must be fair and affordable for all concerned.

"The provision of education in Scotland is the responsibility of local authorities, however, have previously made clear that wherever strikes do occur, local authorities should undertake individual school risk assessments based on the availability of stuff with schools remaining, meaning open or remote learning provided wherever that is possible."

She they continued to consider all options to resolve the dispute but warned: "The Scottish Government has a fixed budget. It is already allocated for this year and it has been eroded by inflation. No thanks in particular to the UK Government on that aspect. So we will work very closely to ensure that we're doing everything we can to resolve the dispute. But it would be fair to say negotiations will have to continue as there remains some distance between us at this time."

Mr Kerr said: "I'm not sure I heard a anything that brings any comfort to Scotland's parents, carers and indeed the most important people, the pupils, especially those in their senior phase preparing for their important exams."

He added: "Teachers are on strike for the first time in 40 years, because this SNP government have repeatedly let them down. They don't want to strike but she's letting teachers down. She's letting pupils down."

Striking teachers gathered outside the headquarters of the council body, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) in Edinburgh on Tuesday afternoon where the EIS general secretary accused the local authority umbrella group and the Scottish Government of “Tory tactics” in trying to weaken the strike action.

Andrea Bradley told members of the union she was confident of victory in the dispute, but said employers were “dampening aspirations”.


Deputy First Minister John Swinney previously said there was no more money to fund public sector pay rises.

But the same was said by Mr Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon before £200m was found to fund pay rises for local authority workers in September, which allowed the lowest paid staff to get a pay increase of around 10 to 11% following the intervention of the First Minister.

Union leaders have previously warned Scots council leaders that frontline service cuts "won't be tolerated" after accepting the pay deal which end the dispute at the 11th hour that threatened to shut schools and waste disposal services.

Within days of the extra money being found, the Scottish Government said savings of £500m would have to be made.

Mr Swinney said the new pay agreements had led to a bill of £700m, which meant “taking money from elsewhere”.

The dispute saw piles of rubbish build up in city centres as waste workers went on strike.

Here is when each council is anticipating industrial action.  

The Scottish Government was originally only providing an extra £140m of funding on a recurring basis to support an original pay offer - while COSLA was to come up with the extra £260m.

The Scottish Government said it had effectively provided an extra £120.6m additional capital annually to fund the increase in salaries. COSLA had initially offered workers two percent then 3.5% and then 5% – all rejected outright by Unite - before the revised offer on September 2 was tabled.

The pay deal came after councils told parents that schools and nurseries would be shutting in a matter of days as industrial action was due to spread to thousands of education staff in 13 council areas.