A gloomy maths lesson: Parents face £1.2bn childcare bill over teachers' strike, says charity

Website's emergency childcare ads rose 77 per cent

Education Editor

Parents have had to fork out around £1.2 billion in extra childcare costs to deal with the hundreds of thousands of children affected by today's teachers' strike, according to research.

The Government claims the strike by members of the National Union of Teachers and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, has closed more than one in four (27 per cent) of the estimated 10,000 schools affected, with the total number either closed or partially closed standing at 3,492. But Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union said their figures suggested that around 82 per cent of schools had been affected in some way.

Members of the NASUWT, along with the National Union of Teachers (NUT), are staging walkouts in the North East and Cumbria, the South West, South East and London.

Speaking at a rally in Durham, Ms Keates said: "No teacher comes out with a spring in their step taking strike action.

"What we are seeing is a real air of determination to demonstrate that they are sick and tired of Education Secretary Michael Gove's denigration of the profession and the relentless attacks he has made on them, which they believe are attacks on children and young people."

Ms Keates estimated that around 2,000 people had taken part in the Durham rally alone, and said the strikes had "served their purpose".

According to Findababysitter. com - the online charity search site, the number of adverts seeking emergency childcare rose by 77 per cent this week as a result of the strike. It estimated the average cost of care to be around £100 - meaning an overall total cost of £1.2 billion.

Tom Harrow, chief executive officer of Findababysitter.com, said: "These parents are paying their taxes and therefore should expect to be able to go to work while their children go to school."

Officials at the Department for Education said support for the strike was lower than at the time of national strike action two years ago - when 60 per cent of schools in the affected areas closed.

The two unions have been holding a series of regional strikes - yesterday's affected schools in the north-east, south-east, south-west and London - and have threatened a national stoppage in protest against changes to their pay, conditions and pensions next month.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "The NUT and NASUWT have tried to create as much disruption for pupils and parents today as possible.

"In spite of this, thanks to many hard-working teachers and heads, only around a quarter of schools in the targeted regions were closed today.

"It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are striking over the Government's measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more.

"In a recent poll, 61 per cent of respondents supported linking teachers' pay to performance and 70 per cent either opposed the strikes or believed that teachers should not be allowed to strike at all.

"All strikes do is disrupt parents' lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession."

She insisted the government had met with the unions "frequently" to discuss their concerns, and that they would continue to do so.

Prime Minister David Cameron said responsibility for the walkouts lay with the unions and that he was "disappointed" they had decided to strike.

"It is very inconvenient for parents, it is not good for pupils' education," he told BBC Sussex radio.

"And when we look at the things they are striking over, pensions and pay, they are things that have been decided independently by well-led reviews."

The unions have said that the dispute focuses on three key issues - pay, pensions and conditions.

They are opposed to Government plans to allow schools to set teachers' salaries, linked to performance in the classroom, and argue that pensions changes will leave their members working longer, paying in more and receiving less when they retire.

They also accuse the Government of attacking their working conditions, including introducing reforms that will allow schools to have longer school days and longer terms.

The first regional walkout took place in the North West on 27 June, and further strikes took place in the East of England, the East Midlands, West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside on 1 October.

Plans for a national one-day walkout before Christmas have also been announced by the two unions.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux ...

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power