Teacher strikes in England are expected to come to a close following the announcement of a new pay offer that has received support from union leaders.

The government has proposed a 6.5% pay rise, which both sides involved in the dispute have confirmed is adequately funded and will not be taken from existing school budgets.

The four unions participating in the strike will now present the deal to their members and recommend acceptance.

The possibility of further strikes in the upcoming term had been under consideration, but if the members accept the deal, such actions will be off the table.

Since February, the National Education Union (NEU) members have carried out seven national strikes.

The four unions have been demanding an above-inflation pay rise, along with additional funds to ensure the increase does not impact existing budgets.

The current inflation rate stands at 8.7%.

Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the NEU, expressed her intention to recommend acceptance of the offer to the members, which would be effective from September 2023.

“If members accept this deal, then the dispute we currently have with the government regarding pay will be resolved for this year,” Bousted stated. “That will be the end of this dispute.”

During the national strikes, parents had to take time off work or arrange alternative childcare as many schools either fully or partially closed.

Sally Haslewood, a parent from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, with two daughters in Year 7 and Year 9, expressed her joy that the strikes could be coming to an end.

“It’s a huge relief to think that when they go back in September, they should have a full year of uninterrupted schooling for the first time in three years,” she said, referring to both the teacher strikes and the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sam, a father of two from Brighton, who preferred not to disclose his surname, supported the striking teachers and welcomed the resolution.

“I had a lot of sympathy for the strikers because I understand the challenges schools have faced due to underfunding,” he said. “But the prospect of more strikes in the autumn was becoming a nightmare, so having that taken off the table is a great relief.”

The government has announced that it will provide an additional £525 million in 2023-24 and £900 million in 2024-25 from the Department for Education’s budget to fund the pay rise.

The prime minister’s spokesperson stated that savings would be achieved through “reprioritization” within government departments.

In the Department for Education, this would involve a reduction in civil service traineeships and “skills boot camps.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan mentioned that ministers were meticulously reviewing each budget line and identifying areas where full expenditure was not necessary.

“We anticipate underspends in certain areas or changes to certain aspects,” she explained.

“We have essentially received permission from the Treasury to reallocate those funds to cover the additional pay.”

Unions have assured that funds will not be diverted from special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or further education provisions, nor will they compromise funding required for ensuring safe school buildings.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, stated, “Our understanding is that a portion of the money will come from unspent allocations that would typically be reclaimed by the Treasury.”

This week, the National Foundation for Educational Research cautioned that a 6.5% pay rise is unlikely to solve the recruitment and retention issues in the teaching profession, urging the development of a new long-term strategy.