UK teachers strike over unruly pupils

2011-04-07 14:00
London - Teachers protesting over pupil indiscipline and a lack of management support for them have gone on strike for a day at a troubled Lancashire secondary school.

They say incidents of intimidation by pupils, threats of violence and swearing at staff are rife at the Darwen Vale High School near Blackburn.

They allege they have also been filmed by pupils on their mobile phones without their permission.

Staff, some carrying placards, picketed the gates as they began their day of action at the 1 150-pupil school.

Teaching unions frequently warn about the standard of behaviour in schools but strikes over the issue are rare. Most teacher strikes concern pay and conditions.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the largest teachers' union, the NASUWT, said the problem had become so bad that staff could no longer safely teach at the school.

Ill-discipline denied

"The teachers have been left with no other option to take strike action," he said.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the support staff union Unison are also supporting the action.

Harry Davenport, director of education at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, denied there was a "serious indiscipline problem at the school" and called the action disappointing.

He said: "Clearly there is a need for the leadership of the school, the governors and the staff and the unions, to work together to just clarify exactly what the issues are and what actions they feel are necessary to put this right."

On Monday, Education Secretary Michael Gove issued new guidance to schools on discipline, saying that in extreme circumstances head teachers could press criminal charges against pupils who make malicious allegations against teachers.

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