SCHOOLS were closed to pupils in Dorset today as teachers went on strike to protest over pay, pensions and changes to the education system.

All secondary and middle schools in south and west Dorset were shut apart from St Mary’s Middle School in Puddletown.

Some primary and first schools were also hit by the industrial action by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).

About 2,000 members of the teachers’ unions in Dorset joined in the national one day walk-out.

Some joined in a demonstration in Poole or headed to a regional rally in Bristol.

Dorset NASUWT secretary Mick Richardson said: “Teachers are making their voice heard.

“We've had our pay frozen, pension contributions increased, inflation rising, job security threatened, pay progression halted, our ability to offer relevant, interesting lessons curtailed.

“The government are just not listening to our concerns. That's why we're on strike today."

Union sources say they hope that the Education Secretary Michael Gove will now engage in meaningful discussions, but they have not ruled out the possibility of a further one day stoppage later in the year.

In Weymouth, Wey Valley, Budmouth and All Saints secondary schools will be closed to pupils along with the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA).

The Thomas Hardye School will be shut in Dorchester along with Dorchester Middle School and St Osmund’s Middle School.

The Sir John Colfox School in Bridport and the Beaminster School will be shut. The Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis will be closed although it is open to sixth formers who can get in.

The Purbeck School and Sturminster Newton secondary schools will also be closed.

Many schools will be closed to pupils but non striking teachers will be going in.