Staff and teachers at an independent school are due to go on strike on the last day of term in a dispute over pay.

Teachers and support staff belonging to the National Education Union (NEU) at Devonshire House Preparatory School in Arkwright Road, Hampstead, balloted to strike tomorrow (July 4).

The union claims pay rises have not matched inflation while school fees have exceeded it. It says a 9.2% pay claim was ignored and new staff are also forced onto a sub-standard pension scheme.

The school reportedly cancelled two meetings with the union on June 12 and 29.

Its head, Henry Keighley-Elstub, met NEU representatives on Monday (July 1) at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), but the discussions were not successful.

One teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "Teachers don't want to strike at all, last day, first day, any day, but members have been ignored.

"We were disappointed that the school didn’t concede on any matters relating to pay and union recognition, leaving members with no choice but to withdraw their labour on Thursday."

The school is part of Dukes Education, the biggest group of private schools in the UK, with 21 institutions in London, as well as in Switzerland, Portugal and Spain.

NEU Camden branch secretary Megan Quinn said “Above inflation fee increases at Devonshire House, have not led to inflation matching pay increases for staff, and many have been left struggling to pay their rents and mortgages. The NEU have tried to negotiate with Dukes Education who are not listening to the legitimate concerns of staff."

Last year, Dukes Education reported a £230m million turnover and an operating profit of £34 million, the NEU said.

Despite this, the school is allegedly forcing new starters to enrol on a defined contributions pension scheme, which is inferior to the defined benefits Teachers’ Pension Scheme, the standard pension amongst teaching staff in England.

NEU senior regional officer Paddy Emond said:  “If Dukes Education wants to provide top-rate education, they must pay their staff a fair wage.

"We are calling on Dukes Education to urgently engage with the NEU to resolve this dispute.”

Mr Keighley-Elstub said the school has benchmarked pay against both the state and independent sectors and there are no current plans to withdraw or remove anyone from the Teacher Pension Scheme.

He added: “The school continues to focus on providing the highest educational standards for our children and their parents. This is, and always will be, our primary focus. As Head, I have a responsibility to represent and support all members of staff and will continue to do so.

"We have been collaborative and constructive with the NEU at all times and our doors are open for further discussion.”