MANY parents were forced to arrange childcare or take time off work to look after their youngsters as teachers walked out of the classroom yesterday.

Opinion has been divided among parents about whether the strike action was understandable or irresponsible.

Colin Simon, 38, of Weymouth, said both his sons could not attend school because Damers First School was partially closed and Conifers Primary School was shut completely.

The father-of-two, who lives in Shirecroft Road with his children and wife Claire, described the strike action as ‘disgusting’.

He said: “Personally, I think striking was out of order.

“I am with them about the pension and you have to look after yourself when you’re older, but I think it is disgusting to go on strike – especially when it is affecting children.

“It’s also costing people and the economy money – parents have had to miss work or put their children into childcare.”

He added: “Parents are penalised for taking their children out of school for a holiday or day out, but then the teachers think it’s fine to do this.

“They could have done it on a teacher’s training day or a time out of school hours. I would have had more respect for them if they had done that.”

Carole Faulkner, aged 49, of Louise Road in Dorchester, said her 13-year-old couldn’t attend Dorchester Middle School and described the strike action as ‘wrong’.

She said: “My son went down to the skatepark instead and so he was quite chuffed, but I said: ‘No, it’s wrong. It’s your education’.

“When will they strike again, and when will more children lose out on their education?”

Mum-of-two Cheryl Barrett from Weymouth said her children were not affected by the strike action but she sympathised with those parents who had been.

She said: “I am quite sympathetic to anyone who was affected. It has been an inconvenience to everyone.”

Bridget May, 49, of Charminster, who has children who couldn’t attend school yesterday, said she could see both sides.

She said: “I can see what the teachers are saying, but I can also sympathise with the parents.”

On the other hand Patricia Soares, 44, of Weymouth said she supported the strike action despite the fact her four-year-old son who attends Conifers Primary School was affected.

She said: “If I was a teacher, I would have gone on strike as well.

“They’re looking after the children and their education, not just their pensions.”