TEACHERS at five schools across East Sussex are set to go on strike over being “denied recommended national rates” of pay.

The National Education Union (NEU) has called for strikes at Priory School in Lewes, Uckfield Community Technology College, St Catherine’s College in Eastbourne, Peacehaven Community School and Seaford Head School to take place on Tuesday and on May 3.

Teaching staff at Seaford Primary School were also meant to join them but have now called off the strike after management at the school agreed to meet the their pay requests.

Phil Clarke, secretary of the Lewes, Eastbourne and Wealden NEU, said: “I can see no good argument why teachers should be paid less in East Sussex than our colleagues in most of the rest of the country.

“For example, our members in Peacehaven are being paid less than those in Brighton schools a short walk away.

“This will only discourage teachers from working in East Sussex schools.

“In the South East, unlike London, we get no extra money and house prices in our county are three times what they are in some northern areas where the proper pay rates are in place.

“School funding has been seriously cut by this government and we have been campaigning for this to be reversed.

“However, the amount needed to pay for this rise for main scale teachers is very low, an average of £1,700 per school in total for the whole year. Schools can afford to pay this.”

The union claims the dispute stems from schools in the area not being asked that the newer and lower paid teachers get a two per cent pay rise.

The pay rise has been recommended by the National School Teachers’ Pay Review Body.

Teachers at schools in areas across the country have already received the recommended pay rise, including in Brighton and Hove.

The union is therefore calling on other head teachers in East Sussex to agree to the pay rise, while it also puts pressure on politicians to try and influence the policy being changed as a whole.

Paul McLaughlin, South East regional secretary at the union, said: “Teachers in East Sussex are being disadvantaged by a policy that denies teachers recommended national rates.

“At a time when recruiting and retaining teachers is proving difficult, this is a false economy.

“Members have overwhelmingly supported the campaign.”

Union leaders expect the five schools to be closed for the strikes.

Picket lines will start at the schools at 7.30am each day.