Secondary schools across Scotland will be shut on Wednesday as a wave of strikes by the Education Initiative Scotland union enter their second day.

Primary teachers walked out in all 32 council areas on Tuesday after last-minute talks between the Scottish Government and EIS failed to reach a conclusion.

Teachers are asking for a pay rise of 10 per cent against an annual inflation of 13.5%, while the offer on the table averages around 5% for most members.

The union’s pay demands were dubbed “simply unaffordable” by education secretary Shirley-Ann Summerville, though she promised to continue negotiations.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme she said: “I think the challenge that we have is we remain some distance apart on what the Scottish government and local government can afford and can put on the table from the union demand which is of course a 10% increase in pay.

"We're trying very hard to have a fair and affordable package on the table but we do remain unfortunately some distance apart."

A walkout by secondary teachers on Wednesday follows a first day of strike by their primary school counterparts, many of whom attended an EIS meeting at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on Tuesday having attended local pickets.

Many are tutoring outside of school hours to make some extra money while one teacher told the assembled crowd a colleague had been forced to do shifts as a delivery driver to make ends meet.

Another, Michael Hopgood of St Vernon’s Primary in Glasgow said: “Teachers have been taking a hit for a long time now, in real terms we're many percentage points down on where we should be.

"We've been offered 5%, it simply isn't going to cut the mustard.

"As we heard today, there are many, many teachers who are struggling and having to take second jobs because pay just simply isn't keeping up with the cost of living.

“Find the money. Just find the money.

"There are ways the Scottish Government can do it, it has tax-raising powers, it could find the money in a number of ways."

Ellen Morton of the Glendale Gaelic primary agreed: "They say there's no money left but we're one of the richest countries in the world. There's plenty of money, it's about the will to get it or not."


Following another round of strikes on Wednesday, EIS members will begin 16 days of action next week targeting two local authorities per day.

Leanne McGuire, chair of Glasgow City Parents Group, said the organisation is noticing increased frustration from parents, directed at the Scottish Government and Cosla for being unable to come to a resolution before now.

Read More: Full list of dates and closures by council

She said: "One day before Christmas could easily be overlooked as ‘one day’ but we’ve heard from many parents concerned about what arrangements they will need to make for two days, maybe three if you have children across primary and secondary sectors.

"We also need to remember ASL pupils generally like routine and when that routine is disrupted it's not as easy for the parent to explain why and it's easily accepted by the pupil.

"These strike days can be quite distressing for ASL pupils and their families.

"There is a lot of anxiety from parents about senior pupils who are sitting their prelims and the disruption it will cause, increasing the stress the pupils might currently be feeling."


EIS Glasgow secretary Susan Quinn made clear teachers were determined to carry on with the action until their demands are met.

She said: “The Scottish Government and COSLA haven't found the money and have made the same 5% offer they made in August.

“We're committed to action until we get a rise that's acceptable to our members."

Teachers at the Royal Concert Hall on Tuesday felt parents and the public were broadly supportive of their cause, but some have been left frustrated at the lack of a resolution.

Kim McAllister's two sons attend school in Edinburgh and she has particular concerns about her 11-year-old boy, Finlay.

Mrs McAllister said: “I’m very sympathetic to the teachers on strike but it’s hitting my family hard.

"My son Finlay is 11 and has learning difficulties.

"He missed two weeks of school before Christmas with the flu so getting back into a school routine has been extra challenging for him; he can’t ask questions so he can get very frustrated and upset which affects his behaviour.

"More disruption to the routine, caused by missing Tuesday, is going to confuse him even more and just prolong the settling back process.

"When his schooling has been so devastatingly disrupted during the pandemic, I feel strongly that the wrong people are bearing the brunt of this dispute."