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Friday, April 8, 2011
Teachers strike over unruly pupils
Teachers at a secondary school in Lancashire, UK, have gone on strike to protest at alleged violence and threats by unruly pupils.
Teaching unions said members felt the Darwen Vale High School near Blackburn was "out of control" and management had failed to back them in attempts to deal with discipline.
Staff picketed at the gates of the school
Unions have received several complaints from members including pushing, shoving and swearing at teachers and some pupils filming staff on mobile phones and clips being posted on Facebook.
Staff, some carrying placards, picketed the gates as they began their day of action at the 1 150-student 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 National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), the largest teachers' union, said the problem had become so bad that staff could no longer safely teach at the school.
The teachers have been left with no other option to take strike action," he said.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Unison, the support staff union 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."