A WALK-OUT by teachers and college lecturers affected thousands of Worcestershire pupils and students.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) at Worcestershire schools went on strike over the below-inflation pay increase offered by the Government, with 13 schools completely closed, including Elgar Technology College in Worcester, yesterday. A further 35 schools in the county were partially closed.

Warndon Community Primary School in the city was one of the schools affected by the strike, with 120 pupils, more than a quarter of its 432 children, forced to stay at home for the day.

Simon Tranter, acting headteacher, said staff had coped "particularly well" under the conditions with five of the school's 15 teachers on strike.

At Pershore High School, headteacher Clive Corbett said he had to step in to teach lessons with a number of teachers on strike there.

NUT representatives want a 4.1 per cent pay increase but have been offered 2.45 per cent by the Government.

It is the first time in 22 years Worcestershire teachers have gone on strike and Lynn Collins, the NUT Midland's regional secretary, said: "There is never a good time to strike if you are a teacher and it was a last resort.

"We have done everything we possibly could to resolve this."

Meanwhile, college students at Worcester College of Technology were also caught up by strikes with lecturers from the University and College Union (UCU) joining the walk-out.

UCU representatives want colleges to bring lecturers' pay into line with that of teachers.

They are calling for a six per cent or £1,500 increase - whichever is the highest - following a members' ballot on the issue in January.

Rachel Gowers, the college's marketing manager, said the strike had had "very little impact" on the college's students.

Lecturers held a picket outside the college in the morning and then again later in the day, as the college prepared for its open evening.

Bryn Griffiths, from the UCU, said: "I'm pleased with the way the strike has gone.

"Of course we are not expecting our employers to change its mind but we have made our point that we are not happy."

More than 60,000 text messages were sent to alert Worcestershire parents about the teachers' strike.

The Call Parents system, provided by Truancy Call, has been installed in many of the county's schools and sent automated alerts to let parents know if their children would need to turn up for school yesterday.