A private school on the edge of the New Forest says most of its staff did not vote to take part in strike action over pay.

Earlier this month National Education Union (NEU) said members working at the fee-paying Ballard School in New Milton were set to strike for five days, starting on June 20.

The NEU later announced that strike action had been suspended following progress in pay talks.

In an update Ballard School said: "Most of our staff did not vote to strike.

"Although 84 per cent of the union’s membership voted to strike, most staff are not NEU members so overall only 18.9 per cent of Ballard staff initially voted for strike action. 

"Teaching staff have been awarded a pay rise of between 4 per cent and 12.6 per cent, depending on the individual’s current pay grade, with all other staff gaining 4 per cent (double the current rate of inflation)."

A school spokesperson added: “The School was pleased that the industrial action was called off after the Governing Body confirmed a sustainable staff pay award, and both the NEU and the School agreed a new, more transparent process moving forward.

“Ballard prides itself on its nurturing environment and pastoral care, a wide range of opportunities inside and outside the classroom and excellent teaching delivered by a passionate teaching body.

"With VAT on fees an impact of a likely change of Government next month, it is more important now than ever that the school stands together for the sake of our young people and ensures the school continues to flourish and grow during the challenging times ahead.”

Staff had been due to strike on June 27 and 28, and again on July 8 and 9.

But the NEU rep at the school, James Blake, 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.”