EDUCATION professionals will hold a rally in Taunton tomorrow (Wednesday, February 1) as they go on strike to demand above-inflation pay rises.

The National Education Union (NEU) South West is hosting the demonstration at Temple Methodist Church on the town's Upper High Street from 11am.

The rally will become a hub for educators and their families for the day.

The union has been encouraged to bring placards, signs and whistles in an effort to make their voices heard.

Members are demanding fully-funded, above-inflation pay rises to help them cope with the cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation.

The strikes have been backed by members of the union after 90 per cent of members who voted expressed their support for the walkouts.

Many teachers worked through lockdown without receiving additional pay.

Hannah Packham, South West regional secretary for the NEU, said: “As well as allowing the profession to haemorrhage talent, the government has missed its own targets for recruitment by an enormous margin and has done so for many years.

"Any sensible government would by now have started to ask themselves why.  

“Our members are taking a stand today for a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise, because the profession cannot go on like this.

"Parents know the consequences of persistent underfunding, both for their school/college and for their child.

"This strike should not be necessary, and we regret the disruption caused to parents and pupils, but our aims are in the interests of everyone in the education community.”  

Read more: Which Somerset schools are closing during Wednesday's teachers' strike?

Talks between the union and the government have ended without a resolution.

The union says pay for experienced teachers has fallen by one fifth since 2010, while the cost of living has continued to rise.

It also says more teachers are choosing to leaving the profession over pay and their workload.