BALLOTS for industrial action closed in 14 schools this week as talks aimed at ending the dispute over staff shortages reached stalemate. Before suspending the no-cover action the National Union of Teachers has demanded clarification by the Government of workload evaluation proposals. The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, which ws prepared to lift the action, was forced to go ahead because it was jointly agreed. Meanwhile, The North School in Ashford, Kent, put most pupils on three and four-day weeks because of the dispute. Ballots affecting schools in Swindon, West Sussex, Newcastle, Essex and Basingstoke closed this week. Results were not known as The TES went to press.