More than 1200 schools will close tomorrow as a result of the first strike by primary teachers in more than two decades.

Primary teachers led by NZ Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZEI) have asked for a 16 per cent pay rise over two years and better working conditions but negotiations with the Government have stalled.

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins said today they had been advised the majority of schools would close tomorrow but said the asking point was just too high.

"Look there is always room for movement in an offer but the important point here is their starting position is significantly higher than anybody else is getting.


"There is going to have to be significant movement on their side."

Hipkins said it was disappointing they had opted to take strike action at this stage.

The Government was committed to negotiating in good faith with primary school teachers and was listening to their concerns, he said.

"We are committed to addressing it over time. We can't do it all overnight.

"We will continue to bargain with them."

It will be only the third time primary teachers have gone on strike in the union's history.

Hipkins told Parliament today that 1264 schools including intermediate and contributing schools have notified the Ministry of Education that they planned on closing tomorrow.

"The Ministry is continuing to monitor that."


Schools had been asked to give parents and caregivers as much notice as possible, Hipkins said.

Advice was sent out two weeks ago to school boards providing guidance on potential strike action and how to communicate that to parents, Hipkins said.

Today in Parliament, Hipkins outlined some of the steps the Government was taking to address the concerns primary school teachers had raised throughout these negotiations.

"We have already taken steps to reducing teacher workload by abolishing national standards," Hipkins said.

"We are taking steps to restore teachers democratic representation on their governing body.

"We have introduced an emergency supply package for teachers prior to Christmas and expanded it in this year's budget."