Thousands of schools shut as teachers strike over pay and pensions

Strike comes as part of regional action from two of the biggest teaching unions

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The Independent Online

Thousands of schools are expected to face disruption today as teachers stage a fresh wave of strikes in an ongoing row over pay, pensions and working conditions.

Pupils across the North East and Cumbria, the South West, South East and London will be affected by the walkouts.

The industrial action has been organised by the National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT.

Rallies have been planned across London, Bristol and Durham.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said that the “overwhelming majority” of teachers in each of these areas would be on strike.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

The Government has condemned the decision to strike as "disappointing".

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “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 will do is disrupt parents' lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession.”

The two unions have also announced plans for a national one-day walkout for before Christmas.