Teachers on school picket

Unrest: Striking teachers formed a picket at Leyland St Mary's Technology College
Unrest: Striking teachers formed a picket at Leyland St Mary's Technology College
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Pupils at a troubled school were forced to cross picket lines to get to class as their teachers’ staged a one-day strike.

More than half the teachers at Leyland St Mary’s Catholic Technology College took part in the industrial action today, forcing the partial closure of the Royal Avenue premises.

Members of the National Union of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers are angry at the outcome of an investigation into problems at the school and said the strike followed the failure to resolve their “deep concerns over poor management practices” at the school.

Staff who remained in school, around 15 of them, were not allowed to teach classes for striking colleagues so the school was closed to all but the year seven and eights.

Year 10 pupils were sent home after their mock exams.

Angry parents have been worried about the effect unrest among teaching staff is having on pupils’ education.

One said: “There have been a lot of teachers going off sick. Due to the ongoing situation a number of parents have now decided to move their children to alternative schools.”

A mum-of-two said her daughter was too scared to go through the picket line.

She added: “I fully support the teachers right to strike, no matter what reason, but I am absolutely appalled that they stood in front of impressionable, young people and made them walk through that intimidating throng of teachers.

“The teachers have totally lost my support and respect and I feel that any teacher on that picket line shouldn’t be part of my child’s education.”

Another added: “Striking isn’t the way to do it. It sets a very poor example to the children. “

A spokesman for the union said: “Extensive efforts have been made to resolve the problems with the headteacher, the chairman of governors and the local authority, but they have continued to fail to exercise their duty of care towards the staff at the school.”

The union spokesman said problems at the school have caused work-related stress and are affecting the health and well-being of staff.

He added: “An investigation has been carried out into the issues raised by the NASUWT and the union is considering the recommendations in the report in detail. The report highlights numerous unresolved issues, poor recruitment practices and specific recommendations for improving management practices.”

Chairman of governors Kathleen Cooper said: “My sincere hope is that we can move on from this difficult period and concentrate on providing a stable and happy school environment for our students.”