EDUCATION is one of the most hotly debated subjects around.

It always has been and it always will be.

But there is one thing that most people surely agree upon.

And it is that children deserve the best possible chance of a good education whatever their background.

With that in mind, today’s strike by teachers will surely not have been met with much public sympathy.

The main losers in the dispute, which shut around 55 Kirklees schools, were children and their education.

Those at the chalkface – as they are fond of referring to themselves – are labouring under the mistaken belief that the private sector is awash with above-inflation pay increases.

Tell it to the marines, as the old saying goes.

The claim by the National Union of Teachers for a 10% pay rise is wholly unrealistic and unachievable at a time when millions of workers in other sectors are having to settle for less than 3%.

Indeed, employees in industry and commerce will be increasingly exposed to the prospect of redundancy as we go through harsh economic times – a threat which teachers will not face.

Teaching is not an easy profession, it must be agreed.

Poor classroom discipline, truancy and too many head teachers being over-ruled by governors on pupil exclusion have aggravated the difficulties.

But it is wrong and impractical for teachers to pursue a pay claim that is in the realms of fantasy rather than belonging to the real world.