Widespread disruption across Somerset schools is expected as teachers from the National Education Union begin two consecutive days of strike action on Wednesday, March 15.

The strikes have been called as part of an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions. The government has offered teachers a 3% pay rise this year, but the offer has been rejected.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies says that teachers' wages fell 11 per cent over the past decade, when accounting for inflation.

The NEU is demanding "a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise for teachers and support staff, and effective action on pay for supply and other educators."

The Department for Education had offered to engage in "formal talks" with the union, on the condition that the strikes were called off.

The NEU refused to call off the strikes until progress had been agreed. With the two parties at loggerheads, schools will close as staff walk out this week.

Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretaries of NEU, said: “We want to resolve this dispute in the interests of our members and the pupils they teach. The Secretary of State has a duty to engage in negotiation. She must begin to exercise that duty.”

For the full list of school closures in Somerset, see the Somerset County Council list.