Schoolchildren in East Renfrewshire are being forced to stay at home today as teachers take part in the first national pay strike in almost 40 years.

All primary, secondary and additional support needs schools in the area are closed due to the industrial action, along with nearly every primary and secondary school across Scotland.

A limited service is being provided in the council’s family centres and nursery classes.

The strike action comes as members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) demand a higher pay packet.

A revised pay offer made on Tuesday was rejected as "insulting" by unions.

But Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has warned that the Scottish Government's budget is under "extreme pressure" and the 10% rise demanded is "unaffordable."

Ms Somerville said: "Strikes are in no-one's interest and we continue to engage with the unions to find a resolution.

"It is very disappointing that the EIS has rejected the latest offer, which is fair and progressive and mirrors the deal accepted by other local government workers."

Union officials have said that, under the latest pay offer, only 8.4% of staff would get the largest rise of 6.85%, while almost three-quarters would see a 5% rise and more than half of head and deputy headteachers would be worse off than under pervious offers.

Andrea Bradley, EIS general secretary, dismissed the latest proposal as "simply a lazy reheating of the offer that our members have already rejected."

"Such a pathetic, divisive offer will never be acceptable to the EIS or to Scotland's teachers and Scotland's teachers will be out in force today - on picket lines outside schools and at pay campaign rallies across Scotland - to demonstrate clearly their outrage and their determination to secure a much-improved, genuinely fair pay settlement from Cosla and the Scottish Government," she said.

The union said primary school teachers also plan strike action on January 10, with those in secondary schools downing tools the following day. Further industrial action is scheduled for February and strikes in December have not been ruled out.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers Association and NASUWT plan to strike on December 7 and 8, leading to closures of some schools and disrupted timetables in others.