Witham MP Priti Patel has urged teachers to "put pupils first" and work rather than strike.

The strikes, which have been called by teaching unions the NUT and NASUWT with turnouts of just one-quarter of their members in their ballots, could cause many schools to close partially or fully throughout and pupils’ education to be disrupted.

Ms Patel said: “Industrial action by teachers will do nothing to further the issues they are campaigning about and will only cause disruption to the education of the county’s children.

"Most teachers did not vote in this ballot and it would be shameful if a small minority were allowed to cause so much damage to the education of local children.

"I urge all teachers in Essex to put their pupils first and spend Tuesday in the classroom rather than on picket lines.”