PM calls on schools to stay open, despite teachers' strike

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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown stepped into the teachers' dispute yesterday, expressing his disappointment over the National Union of Teachers' decision to stage the first one-day national stoppage for more than 20 years.

The Association of Directors of Children's Services and the department of Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, had sent a joint letter to education authorities telling them they should do all in their power to keep schools open during the strike tomorrow, the Prime Minister said.

It looked last night as if the intervention was unlikely to have much effect, with one in four schools saying they were likely to be fully or partly closed for the day. Figures from 58 authorities – a third of the total number in England and Wales – show 2,175 schools will be sending children home, which could mean that more than a million children will have lessons disrupted.

The numbers are lower than predicted by a poll of teachers, which indicated that half of schools would close. However, the poll failed to include most of the London authorities, where the NUT is strongest.

The one-day strike has been called in protest at a 2.45 per cent pay award. The NUT says it is the third year running that teachers have been forced to accept a salary increase of less than the rate of inflation.