SCHOOLS and nurseries across North Ayrshire are to close next week as education staff prepare to go on strike.

Primary, secondary and ASN schools in the county will be closed to pupils on Thursday, November 24, amid a continued row over pay.

However, all standalone early years centres will remain open, alongside a number of early years classes within schools which are also expected to run as usual.

A statement from North Ayrshire Council explained that children who are in receipt of a free school meal will be able to access a packed lunch on Thursday, November 24.

Collection of these will be available from the nearest school, therefore parents and carers do not need to go to the school their child(ren) attends if this is not convenient.

Collection time is between 11am-1pm and will be located at the front entrance of the school.

A council spokesperson added: "Should there be any further change to these arrangements, we will communicate this as quickly as possible to parents and carers."

The council has not yet released a full list of the early years classes within schools that are to remain open - as this may be subject to change between now and the date of industrial action.

They have advised that schools containing early years classes which will be open on the day of the strikes should be in contact with parents of children in those establishments.

News of the strike comes after members of the union EIS voted overwhelmingly to back action.

Some 96 per cent of those who voted – on a turnout of 71 per cent – backed strike action, after a five per cent pay rise was rejected earlier this year.

General secretary Andrew Bradley called on staff “in all of Scotland’s schools” to strike on November 24, in what will be the first action of its kind over pay in almost 40 years, and said: “We hoped not to get to this point, and have given local authorities and the Scottish Government ample time to come up with a fair pay offer.

“But with a pay rise for teachers now more than seven months late, and with the last pay offer having been rejected by teachers almost three months ago, the blame for this move to strike action sits squarely with (local government body) Cosla and the Scottish Government.

“They have sat on their hands for far too long, dithering and delaying while the soaring cost of living continues to erode the value of their pitiful offers to Scotland’s teachers.”

Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The Scottish Government and Scottish local government value the teaching workforce.

“We recognise the vital importance of reaching a fair and affordable resolution on pay, both for the workforce during a cost-of-living crisis, and for the pupils and parents who rely on the vital services our teaching workforce deliver.

“We are absolutely committed to working together to support a fair pay offer for teachers through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers and to avoiding unnecessary strike action and the disruption that would cause.

“Strikes in our schools are in no-one’s interest – least of all for pupils, parents and carers who have already faced significant disruption over the past three years.”