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Teachers’ Pay Question and Answers

Friday, 21 February 2020

Why are teachers taking action?

Teachers on the Island are taking action due to a dispute between three teaching Unions and the Department of Education, Sport and Culture over pay.

The planned ‘action short of strike’ will see teachers who are members of these Unions work-to-rule, meaning they will not work outside of their contracted hours.

Why doesn’t the Government pay teachers more?

The Isle of Man Government wants to pay teachers more and has made a number of offers to find a resolution.

Teachers on the Island have been paid the same as colleagues in England since 1992 (27 years) with their annual award determined in England.

Will my school be affected?

Each school will be affected in different ways, so our advice is to contact your school’s headteacher.

The level of disruption at each school will depend on which Union your headteacher belongs to and how many teachers in your school are signed up to the three Unions involved in action.

The Department does not have this information as there is no requirement for its employees to inform them of joining a Union. However headteachers can ask if teachers are taking action in their schools.

If you have children at different schools, it is possible that they will be affected in different ways.

What difference will it make?

During the action Union members will only work their contracted hours, which depending on numbers, could impact on activities including lunchtime duties, sports fixtures, swimming lessons, parents’ evenings and study clubs.

All timetabled lessons will continue as normal.

How long will this action last?

No-one wants action to affect children’s education but it is not clear how long the dispute will last.

The Department is hopeful all Unions will agree to meet for meaningful talks in the near future. We are ready to engage and we have been waiting since mid-December for the three unions in dispute to provide us with a date to meet.

The Department made multiple offers in December, all of which were rejected. A separate offer was made to a fourth union in January, whose members also rejected it. It would have seen all teachers receive an extra £1,100 a year on top of their annual pay increase of 2.5%.

Are all schools affected?

No, this isn’t the case. Action at each school will be different as the number of teachers belonging to the Unions in dispute will vary.

Will school meals be served?

Children will still be able to receive a hot school meal and all kitchens will be fully staffed. 

In primary schools, if there are any changes to your child’s meals requirements during the action please inform the Department’s primary meals service rather than your school.  You can call 686761 or email

We do not expect disruption to secondary school meals.

Contrary to some reports on social media the Department does not expect schools will close at lunch time.

Sports, swimming and after school clubs

The action taken will affect different schools in different ways. Our advice is to speak to your headteacher to find out what, if any, changes will be made at your school. It is possible that some of these activities will not be available.

Why am I being asked to speak to the headteacher?

Under current legislation the headteacher is responsible for the day to day operation and management of their school and must take reasonable steps to ensure that staff and pupils are kept safe. 

It is the head’s duty to either inform parents or direct them to somebody who has been delegated this authority by the head within the school when actions taken could put a child at risk.

A typical example of this would be refusal to utilise parent pay and liaise with catering staff whereby a child is then given a meal that endangers their life.

The headteacher is also the data controller for their school and as such the Department has no means to contact individual parents as this information rests with the school and the headteacher therefore has a responsibility to ensure timely communications are made to parents and guardians about any action that may affect their child. Such responsibilities could also be delegated to another senior leader in school if the headteacher was unable to fulfil this obligation.

Why did the Department send a letter about potential pay deductions?

There are legal processes that the Department must follow during an industrial action dispute.

The Department has no intention of withholding teacher’s pay in the current phase, but retains the right to do so in the future.

We hope this helps you to understand the current situation but if you need any further information or questions you can call a member of our team on 685820 or email 

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