TEACHERS in Bury are calling on the government to address “intolerable pressures” after taking part in a mass walkout which saw schools shut to children.

Helen Andrews, secretary of the Bury branch of the National Union of Teachers, said teachers were suffering from exhaustion, low morale and fear.

Last Wednesday, local teachers joined hundreds from across the region for a march through central Manchester to voice their anger against Education Secretary Michael Gove.

They said the pressures from government included having to “play a game” for Ofsted, constant changes to the curriculum, and bureaucracy taking them away from the classroom.

Bury primary school teacher Elaine Sindall said: “It is very difficult for teachers to go on strike.

“I don’t want to be here, I want to be in the classroom teaching.

“Our workload has increased. We have more paperwork, none of which is nothing to do with teaching. We want to teach.”

She added: “I know it is a cliche but the message is — let us teach.”

The national body of the NUT warned that it will stage more walkouts if progress is not made in the bitter dispute over terms and conditions.

Mrs Andrews said: “Bury teachers were ‘Standing Up For Education’ as they marched through Manchester.

“Many NUT members from Bury schools — from primary and secondary, from the sixth form college, and from support services — joined hundreds of teachers from across Greater Manchester.

“Teachers love teaching but are crushed by the long hours and stifling accountability regime.

“The rate at which teachers are leaving the profession, 40 per cent in their first five years, demonstrates that the current pressures are intolerable.

“Teachers cannot teach until they are 68.

“Exhaustion, low morale and fear are bad for education.”

She added: “As a matter of urgency the government must engage in serious talks to address the very real concerns of teachers.”