THREE schools in Bracknell Forest were forced to close when around 100 teachers from the borough joined colleagues in London to protest about pay and heavy workloads.

Uplands Primary School in Sandhurst, Easthampstead Park School in Bracknell and Ascot Heath Junior School were fully closed last Thursday during the one-day strike.

Edgbarrow School in Crow-thorne, and Bracknell's Garth Hill School, Brakenhale, The Pines Junior, Warfield Primary, Wild-ridings Primary, Wooden Hill and Fox Hill were open to certain year groups.

Sue Norvill, speaking as an NUT representative for Uplands Primary School in Albion Road, said she hoped the strike had achieved something.

She said: "There are six NUT teachers in this school - we were on strike last Thursday and the school was closed.

"I hope this will have achieved something - we were supported by the other unions and the other teachers in the school.

"I think it has been a long time since teachers have had to take strike action but hopefully this time it will have done some good and we won't have to do it again."

When asked if she would support future strikes Mrs Norvill said "it would depend on the circumstances".

Julie Graham, headteacher of Ascot Heath Junior School said parents had been supportive of the teachers striking at the school.

She added: "This has made members of the public aware of how strongly the teachers feel.

"The cost of living in this region is high and yet teachers get only an £800 extra allowance. This doesn't meet their needs. I had one young member of staff leave recently because she simply couldn't afford to stay."

Tom Wheaton, regional secretary for the NUT, said he hoped the strike action would lead to teachers getting an increased allowance.

He added: "Their allowance is pitifully inadequate, it wouldn't even pay for a garden shed.

"The recent 3.5 per cent increase meant just 42p a week more for the teachers of Bracknell.

"The strike action was also about the accumulation of teachers' workload. They are saying ‘look, enough is enough, listen to us and don't just promise us pie in the sky'".

He added that the issues of workload and allowances would be debated at the upcoming NUT conference where he hoped Education Secretary Estelle Morris would "pull something out of the hat".

Jude Hanner, Headteacher of Easthampstead Park School, added: "It is never an easy decision to make to take strike action, and they did not take the decision lightly, but obviously teachers feel strongly about the cost of living in this area.

"I am not prepared to say if I supported my staff in the action, but the cost of living is an issue for us all in this area and especially for younger teachers. I under-stand where they are coming from.

"We have had no negative comments from parents about the action. Most of the children were not in school. Losing a day is not what anyone wants, but every-thing is back to normal now."