Strike planned at Much Wenlock school over safety and behaviour | #schoolsaftey

  • By Faith Page & Caroline Gall
  • BBC Radio Shropshire

Image caption,

Teachers would strike on 25 and 26 October, the National Education Union said

Staff at a Shropshire school are to go on strike over concerns about building safety and behavioural issues.

Internal building work at William Brookes School had led to concerns about fire safety and building regulation compliance, the National Education Union (NEU) said.

It added the work was done to address “major behavioural issues” in pupils.

The 3-18 Education Trust which runs the school said it was working with staff and welcomed meeting the union.

The strikes at the Much Wenlock site, due to take place on 25 and 26 October, had been a difficult decision for its members, the union said.

David O’ Toole from the trust said the open-plan style of the school included open balconies which made noise travel and also raised fears of a pupil falling or climbing over them.

He said a decision was taken to create full-height petitions on the balconies during the summer which had made the school feel “quieter and calmer by eliminating risks”.

But NEU district secretary John Boken said the union had been asking for the building plans, fire safety compliance and ventilation assessments in relation to the retro-fitting and had not received them and, since September, had been informed the school was not compliant with buildings regulations.

“So what that means is the trust is now having to do buildings regulations after they’ve built the walls and some internal buildings works,” he said.

‘Not just put up walls’

He added: “We have asked time and time again for documentation proving the building is safe to be used and we have not been given that.”

Although there had been some improvement in pupil behaviour since the changes, he said, underlying issues about behaviour had to be looked at and “not just put some walls up”.

Mr O’Toole said he wanted to work with all children and staff for the good of the school and said it was a wonderful place with brilliant staff and pupils.

He said he had seen a dramatic, positive change in the way children had behaved over the last 12 months.

“All schools have some issues with some children. Children need support, they need to understand how to regulate…in society, and manage emotions,” he explained.

Adding all children had faced disruption over recent years with the coronavirus pandemic, he said new routines, systems and support had been introduced.

He said he did not recognise claims of violent behaviour bouts and had met all staff last week, with any raised issues to be looked at.

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