Members of the UK's biggest teaching union, the National Union of Teachers, will carry out a one-day walkout on Thursday in a dispute over pay.
Up to 200,000 teachers will go out on strike forcing the closure of many primary and secondary schools across England and Wales and putting others on a reduced timetable.
....Teachers were offered a 2.45 per cent pay rise this year and 2.3 per cent in 2009 and 2010 - above the 2 per cent limit on public sector pay set by the Prime Minister to control inflation.
But the offer is well below the NUT's original demands of a 10 per cent increase.
The majority of schools return from their Easter holiday today, leaving headteachers with precious little time to prepare for the strike action.
....The last national walkout came during Margaret Thatcher's premiership in 1987. At its conference last month, the NUT threatened to turn the day-long strike planned for April into a rolling campaign of industrial action over pay and large class sizes.
Schools minister Jim Knight said: "I am disappointed by the decision to strike, as I think parents will be. We believe that all teachers should be teaching and talking, and not walking out."