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Thousands of North-East teachers set to strike on Thursday
THOUSANDS of teachers are set to walk out on Thursday in the first industrial action of its kind since the 1980s.
Although many teachers went on strike two years ago - as part of a national day of action by public sector workers - it is thought this is the first time for 30 years since North-East teachers have gone on strike on their own.
The decision by the NUT and the NASUWT, the two biggest unions, to call strikes in the North-East, Cumbria, London the South-East and the South-West, will close or partially close many of the region's schools.
Parents are being advised to check with individual schools, but a survey by The Northern Echo shows that County Durham will be particularly badly hit, with almost all of the county's 98 schools closed or partially closed.
The industrial action is the latest stage in a rolling programme of strikes which has already included two days of industrial action in other regions in England on June 27 and October 1.
On Thursday, both unions will hold joint rallies in Durham City, Bristol and London with Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, due to speak at Durham University Students Union.
Hundreds of striking teachers are expected to march from Millennium Square in Durham City to Dunelm House before attending a rally.
Ms Keates told The Northern Echo: "These strikes could have been avoided if the Secretary of State had been prepared to engage constructively in discussions to seek to resolve the trade dispute.
"Instead he recklessly and arrogantly dismisses the fact that the teaching profession is in crisis."
The unions have criticised the Education Secretary's proposals for changes to teachers pay, working conditions and pensions.
In Darlington, 11 out of 44 schools will be closed, 13 will stay open and 20 will be partially open.
In Hartlepool 18 out of 39 schools will be closed, while seven will remain open and 14 will stay partially open.
In Stockton 26 out of 73 schools will close completely on the day, while 14 will remain open and 19 will stay partially open.
The Government has said it is disappointed that the two unions have decided to take strike action in the North-East.
It said said strikes would disrupt parents lives, hold back childrens education and damage the reputation of the teaching profession.
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