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Education News

In pictures: Protesting pupils

No one is saying that parents didn't have their hands (more than) full yesterday, when a nationwide teachers' strike left thousands of children from 12,000 schools in need of baby-sitting for the day. But, for some precociously political tots, a bit of public sector striking was transformed into a fun-filled family day out – one with a serious message, of course.

As 260,000 members of the Public and Communal Services Union (PCS) walked out of work in London, Manchester and Birmingham, to protest against the Coalition's cuts to pensions and public services, a younger breed of demonstrator could be spotted. Sporting face paint and Save Our Pensions stickers, waving flags and propping up anti-cuts banners, they fought the PCS corner – even, as one young chap on the left shows, turning the issue into a fashion statement. "I used to be much bigger," reads his (extra small) T-shirt. "But the cuts affected my growth." And though many had come out to fight the corner of their parents' pensions, elsewhere there were other, more personal, concerns at play – the rising cost of further education, for instance.

"When I grow up," read one youngster's banner, above, "I cannot afford to be a teacher."

"Tax the fat cats," said another, demonstrating, if not perhaps the most accurate of artistic eyes, then at least a rather sophisticated awareness of fiscal policy. George Osborne, watch out.

Still, it was impossible to escape the suspicion that – when it came to one or two of the young demonstrator's views – they might not be entirely their own. Take the angry-looking soul on the left. Is his wrath really inspired, as his placard suggests, by a Government assault on pensions?

Or might it have something more to do with a bad case of wind? Either way, best not take the risk. Before you know it, he'll start crying and then things really will be bleak.