Thousands of schools across England and Wales forced to close as teachers strike and threaten further action.
Thousands of schools across England and Wales will face disruption and closures today as teachers stage a one-day national walkout.
Teacher Tom Hayes has written to the parents of children at his school explaining why he, and his colleagues, have decided to strike.
Teachers suffer from "unrelenting" stress which begins from when they start their working day until they go to bed, according to the head of a teacher's union.
Mary Bousted, the General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers warned Daybreak teachers were already working 60 hours a weak and faced "the most unpaid overtime of any profession".
The Government defended the workload it was leaving teachers with, saying statistics showed the profession had "never been more attractive".
Despite evidence showing a sharp rise in the number of teachers struggling with mental health issues, a Department of Education spokeswoman said:
– Department for Education Spokeswoman
We know that the vast majority of teachers and school leaders are hard-working and dedicated professionals, and statistics show that teaching has never been more attractive, more popular or more rewarding.
A record number of top graduates are now applying to become teachers and vacancy rates are at their lowest since 2005.
We are giving teachers more freedoms than ever and cutting unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy.
We trust the professionalism of our headteachers to work with their staff to ensure they receive the support they need and to see that any issues are addressed.
Almost three-quarters of teachers admitted feeling exhausted long after the school bell had rung for the day, a survey has shown.
A poll from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers found:
- Some 70% said they are left feeling exhausted by their work.
- Two thirds, (66%) said it disturbs their sleep.
- A massive 80% said working as a teacher left them feeling stressed.
- ATL warned a stigma attached to mental health issues means many people are afraid to tell their employers they are suffering - 68% of those dealing with a mental health problem chose to keep it a secret from bosses.
- Only 38% of those who kept a physical health issue to themselves.
The number of teachers suffering from mental health problems due to the pressures of their profession has risen by over a third, a survey has revealed.
Some 38% of teachers told the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) there had been a rise in mental health problems among their colleagues over the last two years.
And over half (55%) of the 925 education staff quizzed said their job has had a negative effect on their mental health.
ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said she was shocked at the results, but felt the data spoke for itself.
"Teachers, lecturers, support staff and heads are now so over-worked that it comes as no surprise that so many in the education profession suffer from stress, depression and other mental health issues," she said.
After thousands of teachers walked out on strike today - over pay, pensions and conditions - the schools minister David Laws says he is "disappointed" the action was taken.
Mr Laws described the strikes as "unreasonable" as "constructive" talks are continuing between Department for Education and unions.
A schoolchild has told ITV News the teachers' strike has affected her because she is "not getting enough education" ahead of her SATs exams.
Lauren Scobie said the walkout was both "good and bad" because teachers were "getting the attention" of Education Secretary Michael Gove but they were also adversely affecting her education.
Teachers and campaigners taking part in the national strike have been rallying outside Brighthelm Centre in Brighton & Hove. Our correspondent Malcolm Shaw sent these pictures from the demonstration.
Teachers have been holding a number of rallies across the North West as part of their industrial action, forcing the closure of many schools.
The NUT are boycotting classes as part of an ongoing dispute over pay, pension cuts and working conditions.
Half of the British public oppose teachers going on strike today, according to an ITV News Index poll carried out by ComRes.
When asked whether teachers were right or wrong to go on strike, 51% said they opposed the walkout, 35% supported the strike and 14% did not know.
The poll also showed that those working in the public sector are more likely to support the strike (45%) than oppose it (41%).
Some 2,039 people were asked by ComRes about the strike.