THOUSANDS of teachers across Dorset and Hampshire have walked out of their classrooms in the latest strike over working conditions.
The industrial action has given pupils an extra day at home but has forced many working parents to take time off to look after their children.
Many schools have closed their doors but more have taken the decision to remain open on this occasion.
Several secondary schools are open for senior pupils who are preparing for exams but closed to younger pupils.
Council chiefs in Dorset said they have done all they can to ensure as many children as possible can attend lessons today.
Mark Loveys, lead advisor for school improvement with the county council said: “We are encouraging schools to stay open, where it is feasible and poses no risk to pupils as a result. However, the final decision as to whether a school remains open, closed or partially closed lies with the head teacher and the chair of governors.
“All schools have been asked to give parents, transport and pupils as much notice as possible.”
The strike is unlikely to have as much impact as the last one in November because only members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are involved.
Last time they were joined by the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers but their members have decided to continue negotiations with Education Secretary Michael Gove instead.
Dorset NUT secretary Geoff Cooke said members wanted to discuss changes to conditions but Mr Gove refused to do so.
He said strike action is a last resort and said teachers did not want to take the action. “They don’t want to do it, it’s against their instincts to affect parents or children.”
A rally was due to take place in Wimborne from 11am until 1pm today.
Head of Hill View primary in Bournemouth, Amanda Jones, warned parents last week and said: “I am aware that class/school closures inconvenience parents and carers.”