The National Union of Teachers hailed yesterday's national teachers' strike a success, claiming the majority of its 1,000 members in Epping Forest and Harlow taking part.

Essex County Council reported that 37 schools shut for the day, with 68 others being partially closed and 306 remained open.

Teaching staff from the district joined the walk-out in protest at pension and pay reforms.

Murray Sackwild, NUT General Secretary for the district, said: “We are delighted with the response to today's NUT call to strike. “Many marched through Chelmsford while others participated in the big march in London.

“While we know that the disruption a strike can have makes life a little more difficult we are pleased with the support that we have received from parents, students and members of the public across the Epping Forest region.”

Essex County Councillor Ray Gooding, Cabinet Member for Education & Lifelong Learning said he was disappointed by the strike.

He said: “Schools have a responsibility to pupils and their parents to provide education and wherever possible.” However, Mr Sackwild says that is was necessary.

“Students don't want burnt out 68 year old teachers or teachers who are too exhausted to produce entertaining lessons due to excessive workload.

“Mostly students want to be treated like people - rather than statistics on data related targets necessitated by Performance Related Pay.

“Teachers in Epping, Loughton, Debden and Chigwell were Standing Up For Education on Wednesday and welcome the whole-hearted support of the public in the area in their ongoing battle with Michael Gove's backward reforms.”