THOUSANDS of children will miss lessons tomorrow when teachers walk out of their classrooms for an unprecedented third time in a year.

The National Union of Teachers is taking strike action to protest against proposed government reforms.

They will be joined by members of Unison, GMB and Unite, who are striking over the one per cent pay offer to local government employees.

Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry said: “Our priority is to the vulnerable people of Hampshire and children in our care. People can rest assured the county council will do everything possible to ensure children will continue to be well looked after throughout the period of industrial action.

“Unless staff are actually taking part in the industrial action or have pre-agreed leave, we expect our staff to attend for work on the day of the action.”

Many of the schools will be fully open, including Emmanuel Middle School and Hillside First in Verwood, Ringwood and Burgate Schools, St Ives First, Hyde Primary, Three Legged Cross First and St Mary’s in West Moors. Fordingbridge Infant School was expected to be open.

New Forest District Council has made preparations to ensure there is minimal disruption to its services.

Leader of New Forest District Council, Councillor Barry Rickman, said: “We would like to reassure residents that we have plans in place to minimise any impact on council services. In particular we are taking appropriate action and liaising with the trade unions to ensure that essential services and those that are critical for vulnerable members of the community are maintained.”

The council has written to all staff to inform them of the employment effects of taking part in the strike.

The council’s health and leisure centres and information offices are expected to be open as usual.

Residents whose refuse and recycling is due to be collected tomorrow should put their sacks out as usual. If they have not been collected by the end of the day they should be taken in and put out again the following week for a double collection.

Members of the garden waste scheme and those who are due their household glass collection today should also put their items out as usual – if it is not collected on Thursday it should be placed within the boundary of the property and it will be collected on Saturday.

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