TEACHERS were back on picket lines yesterday as they staged another strike in a long-running dispute over pay.

The latest round of industrial action closed 14 north Essex schools either in full or in part, and another strike is planned on Friday.

There are fears that pupils could miss out on end-of-year activities – including concerts, trips, sports days, and opportunities to meet new classmates – during the two days of strikes at schools and sixth-form colleges.

It is the seventh day individual schools in England have faced walkouts by NEU members since February.

Gazette: Action - this was the seventh day of walkouts by NEU members since FebruaryAction - this was the seventh day of walkouts by NEU members since February (Image: PA)

Georgia Townshend, executive member of the National Education Union in Essex, suggested more widespread strikes could occur in the autumn term.

She said: “We’ve never really stopped campaigning but striking is always the last resort.

“For the last six months, we were the only teaching union taking this sort of action but in September we might see all four big teaching unions fighting together. I believe our actions have encouraged others.

“Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us. We’re fighting this for everyone and I’m certain that the Government will see sense if we all stick together.”

The Government offered teachers a £1,000 one-off payment for the current school year and an average 4.5 per cent rise for staff next year after intensive talks with the education unions in March this year.

Newly qualified teachers will also start on £30,000 from September.

But all four education unions involved in the dispute rejected the offer and the decision on teachers’ pay in England for next year has been passed to the independent School Teachers’ Review Body.

The NEU – alongside the NASUWT teaching union, the NAHT school leaders’ union and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) – are now balloting their members in England to take action in the new school year.

What schools are closed in Colchester on Friday?

It is currently unknown which schools will be impacted by Friday’s strike, but there was disruption to pupils at the following schools yesterday:

  • All Saints’ Church of England Primary School, Harwich
  • Brinkley Grove Primary School
  • Broomgrove Junior School
  • Gilberd School
  • Hazelmere Infant School and Nursery
  • Langenhoe Community Primary and Pre School
  • Paxman Academy
  • Ramsey Academy
  • St Andrew’s Church of England School
  • Stanway School
  • St George’s School – Towers Campus
  • St Helena School
  • St Michael’s Primary School and Nursery
  • Thurstable School