Schools could be forced to close next month as teachers walk out in protest over pay, longer working hours and changes to pension contributions.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has announced that it will hold a day of strike action across the country on March 26.

The NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union and Women Teachers) were also considering joining the strike.

It is currently unclear how many schools in Bury will be affected, but both unions represent about 90 per cent of teachers working in the borough.

Helen Taylor, secretary of Bury NUT, said: “We suspended strike action in November because there was a suggestion that Mr Gove might talk to us, but no talks have happened.

“Now we are getting to a point where you have a teaching profession which is totally demoralised, the rate of teachers leaving within five years of coming into the profession is increasing, and there is a looming shortage of teachers.

“We are clearly not being listened to or being treated as professionals. Education is in crisis.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education added: “Parents will struggle to understand why the NUT is pressing ahead with strikes over the government's measures to let heads pay good teachers more.

“They called for talks to avoid industrial action and those talks will begin shortly. Despite this constructive engagement with their concerns, the NUT is nevertheless taking strike action that will disrupt parents' lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession.”