Sheppey school trust founder says he cries over pupil violence | #schoolsaftey

Image caption,

Staff said they had been “barricaded into classrooms” by large groups of pupils

  • Author, Rosie Blunt
  • Role, BBC News

The founder of Oasis Academies, the trust that runs a Kent school where staff have gone on strike due to student violence, said he was “really sorry about this situation”.

“I cry about it to tell you the truth,” Steve Chalke told BBC Radio Kent.

Mr Chalke said that student behaviour across the country had “deteriorated fast since the pandemic”, but acknowledged it was at a “different level” on the Isle of Sheppey.

He said the school was underfunded, making it very difficult to tackle behaviour issues.

Lisa Reynolds, an English teacher at the school and a local National Education Union (NEU) representative, said: “We have members of staff who are threatened on a daily basis.”

She said children were telling teachers “they have knives on them and they’re going to cut our throats”.

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Steve Chalke said there were some children at the school who were “deeply traumatised”

Mr Chalke said there was no special needs facility on the island.

“There are some children who are dysregulated,” he said.

“We are throwing everything at it but there is a national crisis in behaviour in schools,” he said.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “Strike action is damaging to pupils’ learning and disruptive for parents, and we are disappointed to see strikes are continuing.

“We are considering a proposal from two strong local trusts to replace the existing school with two new ones, extending parental choice in the area and ensuring children receive a high quality education.”

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