A Whangārei principal says a major strike which will see more than 2000 Northland teachers and principals walk out of classrooms shows it's "crisis time".

Primary and secondary teachers have voted for a first combined all-schools strike on May 29.

The strike comes after members of education unions NZEI Te Riu Roa - which represents primary school teachers and principals - and the Post Primary Teachers Association - which represents secondary principals and teachers - voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking joint strike action on May 29.

The Ministry of Education is seeking an urgent return to talks to avoid the strike. But the Government has indicated it will not budge on a $1.2 billion offer previously offered to teachers.

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Pat Newman, principal of Hora Hora Primary School in Whangārei and president of the Te Tai Tokerau Principals' Association. Photo/Tania Whyte
Pat Newman, principal of Hora Hora Primary School in Whangārei and president of the Te Tai Tokerau Principals' Association. Photo/Tania Whyte

Pat Newman, principal of Hora Hora Primary School in Whangārei and president of the Te Tai Tokerau Principals' Association, said if this did not show the Government it was "crisis time, nothing ever will".

"To me it is the Government's responsibility to fund education and not rely on the good will and aroha of the teachers," he said.

The joint strike will see the largest ever industrial action by New Zealand teachers, covering almost 50,000 members nationally - more than 2200 in Northland - across the two unions.

Primary teachers also went on strike in August and November last year.

Rachel Burnett, Dargaville High School English teacher, said teachers were united in wanting to provide quality education. Photo/Supplied
Rachel Burnett, Dargaville High School English teacher, said teachers were united in wanting to provide quality education. Photo/Supplied

Rachel Burnett, an English teacher at Dargaville High School, said she went into work at 7am yesterday - after working Sunday - and would continue working long after dinnertime.

She hoped the urgency of teachers' concerns was communicated by the joint strike action.

"Staffing shortages are leading to increased workload, unreasonable workload in general, and a lack of qualified colleagues," she said.

"Although we have slightly different battles to fight, we are united in wanting to be able to provide quality education for kids."

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What parents need to know:

• NZEI said schools will advise parents and caregivers shortly about whether the school is completely closed on May 29 or if there will be some limited supervision available for families unable to make alternative arrangements.

• There will be rallies and meetings around the country. Everyone who supports the teachers is invited to attend. Details of events will be released soon at backtheteachers.co.nz