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Teachers' strike to hit schools across Kent and Medway as NUT members walk out

By Dan Wright

A staged teachers' walk-out is expected to affect schools across the county today.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are striking over a dispute with education minister Michael Gove over the introduction of performance-related pay and tougher pension packages.

Teachers will gather at meetings and rallies in Gravesend and Canterbury later.

The NUT cancelled its planned one-day strike in November and postponed action in February to continue talks with Mr Gove, but said he has failed to address their concerns.

Teachers are on strike in Canterbury

The National Association of School Masters and the Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) announced last week that it will not be taking part.

Of 452 local authority schools monitored by Kent County Council, 13 have confirmed they will close, with a further 59 opening to some extent.

More than 100 are open as usual, with the rest not giving an indication to KCC

In Medway, three schools will be closed with nine partly open and 55 fully open.

John Walder, the NUT's Kent divisional secretary, said: "None of us take industrial action casually or lightly.

"None of us take industrial action casually or lightly" - John Walder

"We spend our working lives putting the needs of our pupils and schools first, day in, day out.

"But the crises we face every day, of falling pay, worsening conditions, shrinking pensions, increasing stress and collapsing morale mean that by taking action on 26th March we are not only defending ourselves, our families and the profession to which we have dedicated our lives, we are also defending our pupils and our schools."

Teachers will gather at the Three Daws Pub in Gravesend at 10am before another rally at St Thomas' Hall is held in Canterbury at 10.30am.

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