Teachers across the county have gone on strike today over "crucial" issues affecting the profession.

Thousands of teachers took to the streets of the capital today as an ongoing dispute with the government over pay, pensions and working conditions escalates.

Many schools across the county have had to close after members from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) went on strike in a bid to "defend teachers and protect education".

Dave Williams, Hertfordshire NUT press and communications officer, said: "The strike is over issues that are crucial if we are to see a thriving teaching profession in this country.

"Michael Gove could have avoided our strike if he had been willing to negotiate seriously on the issues that matter to teachers. Unfortunately, he has not done so."

Mr Williams said the education secretary "squandered the last chance he had to avoid the strike" during the last set of talks on March 19.

He continued: "Talks were once again with civil servants. They covered matters of implementation of Mr Gove's policies on performance related pay, school and teacher accountability and the increase in the pension age. Once again the direction and substance of the policies were outside the scope of the discussions.

"Many of the most significant points put forward by the unions on implementation of policy have been rejected.

"We will continue to engage to work with the other unions to press as hard as possible to reopen the issues that have been rejected and to make progress on others.

"However, so far, in our judgement, there has been no progress that would materially alter the lives of hard pressed teachers."

He added: "We intend to increase the pressure on Mr Gove to engage seriously and bring about real changes to the direction of his policies and to their implementation in order that we can both defend teachers and protect education."