Essex County Council has issued a public apology following their failure to pay teachers before the Bank Holiday weekend.

About 20,000 teachers had to wait to be paid following an announcement from the council on Friday saying that it had suffered an internal failure.

It faced an angry reaction from teachers, some of whom were planning a trip for the long weekend or simply just wanting to hit bill deadlines.

The council even had to make about 100 emergency hardship payments to staff who managed to get through to them on the phone, despite a 45-minute wait.

Essex County Council issued an update to the situation on Facebook on Friday afternoon.

A spokesman said: “We have apologised to a number of school employees in Essex who have not received their pay due to payroll issues.

“We regret that many school employees will now only receive their salary payments today.

“We would like to thank you all for your patience, and we are doing everything we can to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

“If you do think that you are going to experience financial difficulties, we would advise you to contact your bank or building society.

“We have been in contact with the banks and also the representative association for banks and building societies, UK Finance, which has said it will treat each situation on its own merit, but banks and building societies will be understanding of the circumstances.”

A number of teachers responded angrily to this, some claiming that they had received no apology nor any assurances.

One teacher said: “They say they have issued an apology to school employers but have had absolutely nothing from them since Friday when they issued that statement.

“They’re saying that we will be paid today so we shall see.

“But for this to happen just before the bank holiday isn’t ideal timing really and it’s just unacceptable.

“Fortunately I was OK as I didn’t have too much planned for the weekend but that’s not the point.

“I know a few people who would have had plans and may have had to make other arrangements as a result.”

Some teachers were also querying the fact that the announcement was made on Facebook, and that they had only learnt of the error from colleagues.

Another teacher said: “It’s pretty disgusting that we only know because of Facebook.

“Not everyone is on Facebook, some might be away on holiday.

“They could easily be spending money that they don’t have because they haven’t been paid yet.

“I haven’t received a personal apology either so I’m guessing it’s just the ones who rang up that got one.”

Direct debits and standing orders due to leave accounts on Saturday will be processed today.