The NASUWT and NUT, representing nine out of 10 teachers, are taking strike action across four regions of England today.
This follows two previous waves of rolling strikes which took place at the end of June and on October 1.
The strike action has received overwhelming support from teachers demonstrating their deep anger and frustration at the failure of the coalition government to take seriously their concerns about the impact of the relentless assault which has been waged on their pay, pensions, conditions of service and jobs for the last three years.
The national pay and conditions framework which the secretary of state is seeking to destroy has been instrumental in securing our public education service a place in the top six highest performing countries in education in the world and the second-highest performing in Europe.
Attacks on teachers are attacks on children and young people, which is why teachers taking the action have received a high level of support from parents. Parents have recognised that teachers' working conditions are inextricably linked to the provision of high standards of education.
A country-wide survey conducted by right-wing polling organisation Populus immediately after the first day of strike action in north-west England on June 27 found a higher level of public support for teachers taking strike action.
The support of parents and the public has been further in evidence at the Rallies for Education the NASUWT and NUT have held across England and Wales over the last six months.
The rallies saw thousands of parents, ordinary families and members of the public join teachers in packed-out venues to share their fears and concerns about the future of our public education service.
At the rallies parents, governors and headteachers all spoke movingly about their experiences. Articulate and thoughtful young people, who are a credit to our public education system, described how they believed their life chances and choices were being adversely affected.
So while there are understandably concerns about teachers taking strike action, there is shared anger and frustration.
But these strikes could have been avoided if Education Secretary Michael Gove had been prepared to engage constructively in discussions to seek to resolve the dispute.
Instead he recklessly and arrogantly dismisses the fact that the teaching profession is in crisis and hops from one public platform to another, preferring megaphone diplomacy to genuine discussions.
As a result of the secretary of state's actions over half of teachers are seriously considering quitting the profession altogether, 98 per cent of teachers do not believe that the government's policies will raise standards of education, recruitment levels are declining and resignations are increasing.
Children and young people are losing their entitlement to be taught by those who are recognised and rewarded as highly skilled professionals and who have working conditions that enable them to focus on teaching and learning.
Gove's removal of the requirement for schools to employ only those with qualified teacher status has resulted not only in children losing their entitlement to be taught by a qualified teacher but has seen teaching jobs lost as cheaper, unqualified staff are appointed by schools.
The jobs of specialist teachers are also being lost as a result of budget cuts and curriculum changes.
Teachers are committed and dedicated public service workers.
They do not take strike action lightly. No teacher has any wish to inconvenience parents or disrupt pupils' education, but this action is not the failure or due to the unreasonableness of teachers.
It is the failure and unreasonableness of the secretary of state, who day-in-day-out is disrupting the education of children and young people through his attacks on the teaching profession.
Teachers are not prepared to stand by and allow this to happen. By taking action they are standing up for standards.
Chris Keates is general secretary of NASUWT
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.