Staff at a Hampshire private school charging up to £6,000 per pupil have suspended part of their strike action after progress in pay talks.

National Education Union (NEU) members at Ballard School in New Milton were due to walk out for five days.

Staff were going to start to strike action today (June 20) with further walkouts on June 27 and 28 and July 8 and 9.

But the first day of the strike has now been called off amid progress in negotiations.

James Blake, NEU Rep at Ballard School said: “The school has agreed to honour its commitment to match teacher salaries to those in the state sector and to enter into an improved and meaningful pay negotiation process next year.

"Teachers at Ballard are pleased that the Governing Body have responded by entering negotiations and addressing our concerns. As a result, our members have agreed to cancel the proposed action on Thursday to allow more time to consider the offer and clarify various points.”

A spokesperson for the school said: “The Governors were happy to restate their previous offer to match teacher salaries to those in the state sector and welcome the decision not to proceed with the strike this week. 

"Governors did not consider the original pay claim was affordable given the financial pressures and uncertainty the independent sector is facing, and the fact that inflation is now around 2 per cent.

"Governors have to be mindful of the impact on parents of rising fees and have a duty to protect the long-term sustainability of the school.”