VIDEO: Parents face upheaval as teachers carry out strike
Teachers across the Westcountry went on strike yesterday in opposition to Government plans to reform pensions, pay and workload.
Thousands of pupils were told to stay at home as hundreds of schools in Devon and Cornwall closed or partially closed as a consequence of the strike.
Many teachers in the region descended on protest points outside Plymouth Argyle's Home Park, and at other locations in Bristol and Poole in Dorset.
The unions behind the strikes, the National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT, warned in the lead-up that changes introduced by Education Secretary Michael Gove would put the Westcountry behind other regions when it came to education.
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However, many businesses and parents in the area were left counting the cost, with tens of millions expected to be lost from the economy.
Website Findababysitter.com went as far as estimating that if the parent of every child affected in the country had to fork out for emergency child care the cost would be upwards of £1 billion.
Writing on social networking site Facebook, parents expressed mixed feelings about the strikes.
Lynn Tabatha Rhodes posted: "How come if you take your kids out of school in term time, because of unfair hiked holiday prices, you get a fine? Yet teachers can stop kids going to school because they have 'unfair' work conditions? They should all be fined!"
However, teachers defended their right to strike, with many saying Mr Gove had done nothing to address the low morale among teachers.
NUT rep Jonathan Mason, who co-organised a rally at South Devon Arts Centre in Totnes, said: "We're aware the strike will cause inconvenience, but we feel there aren't any other options. Einstein said not everything that's important can be measured and not everything that can be measured is important. There's an endless amount of target-setting going on. Sometimes data can be useful but it feels sometimes like data has become the most important thing and we've lost the child in the middle."