Striking teachers campaigned in the Lexicon on Tuesday, on the second of two strikes planned on either side of the bank holiday weekend.

Teachers in the National Education Union (NEU) have been taking action after rejecting a government pay offer that they say will be funded from school budgets rather than by the government.

The government says that when added to a pay increase already confirmed this year, the £1,000 payment is effectively an 8 per cent rise. And it says the 4.3 per cent is above the projected rate of inflation for next year.

But the union says this isn’t fully funded by the government, which is asking for head teachers to pay for most of the increase out of school budgets.

The strikers gathered outside The Bull pub in Bracknell town centre, with many having attended picket lines earlier in the day. They then went to the centre of the Lexicon to hand out leaflets and talk to passers-by about the strike.

Some passers-by supported the strikers.

Kayleigh Horrod, who was in town with her child, said: “I completely agree with it. I work in a school myself so I completely agree with what they’re doing. The only downside is if I don’t go into work then I lose a day of pay. But it’s a lot less than what they’re not getting.”

But Heather Horrod, who was with her, disagreed. She said: “I understand the strike, but what I don’t understand is you’re losing a whole day of school for the children. This is their future.”

Paul Tatum from Bracknell Forest NEU said he’d met “a few grumpy parents” on the picket line. But he added: “Generally the support among most school communities is quite strong.

And a striking teacher, who didn’t want to be named, said: “The offer that they gave us was out of the school budget. It wasn’t extra money. If we accepted that it would have been less for the kids.”

They added that teachers were already having to ration equipment such as glue sticks, and that schools were lacking funding for repairs.

Now, the unions have warned that they could coordinate their next strikes, causing a bigger impact.

One striking teacher, who also didn’t want to be named, said: “We’re hoping that everybody will join forces. Especially if the learning support assistants join in. They cover a lot of classes and they’re underpaid.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “For unions to co-ordinate strike action with the aim of causing maximum disruption to schools is unreasonable and disproportionate, especially given the impact the pandemic has already had on students’ learning.

“Children’s education has always been our absolute priority and they should be in classrooms where they belong.

“We have made a fair and reasonable teacher pay offer to the unions, which recognises teachers’ hard work and commitment as well as delivering at additional £2 billion in funding for schools, which they asked for.”