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Friday, 24 November, 2000, 12:21 GMT
Strike threat over 'malicious' pupil
playground
The strike threat follows a teacher's intervention in a playground fight
Teachers at a high school in South Yorkshire are threatening to strike, after governors ruled they must teach a boy who lodged what they say was a "malicious" assault charge against a colleague.

Members of the National Union of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers have refused to allow the Year 8 pupil into their classes, saying he should be expelled.


The principle of the right to education is paramount

School statement
The situation arose in October when a teacher broke up a fight between two boys in the playground at Darton High near Barnsley.

The teacher - whose name has not been revealed - was accused of smashing the boys' heads against a wall when he intervened.

The local education authority looked into the claim, but found no basis to it. The matter was not reported to the police.

Special classes

One of the boys, who has not attended the school since the half-term holiday, is believed to be moving to another area.

The other is being taught at the school, but outside ordinary classes and not by the 25 members of the NASUWT at the school.

The school's governing body has agreed - in a six to five vote - it has no alternative but to ask members of the NASUWT to take classes including the boy.

Union members will be asked to work normally from 4 December and will be given until 30 November to confirm their decision.

Threat to stop pay

If the teachers do not comply, Barnsley Council has said it will stop paying their salaries.

"The governors have made every effort to resolve the matter through negotiation with the union," a statement from the school read.


We stand firm in our determination to protect teachers from these very dangerous allegations

Nigel de Gruchy, NASUWT
"They have introduced revised systems within school and worked closely with the LEA to ensure that the possibility of false accusations resulting in prolonged suspension are reduced.

Governors and members of the school community were conscious of the difficulties being caused for the parents of the boys involved, the statement said, and were aware of the "possible repercussions should teaching staff not be willing to comply with the direction of the head".

"However, they feel that the principle of the right to education is paramount and will work closely with the school and LEA to minimise any potential disruption to the learning of pupils at Darton High School."

'Ready to strike'

General secretary of the NASUWT, Nigel de Gruchy, said the union was prepared to talk to the LEA.

"But we stand firm in our determination to protect teachers from these very dangerous allegations," he said.

Members were ready to strike if they were ordered to teach the boy, he added.

See also:

31 Jul 00 | Education
02 Nov 00 | Education
02 Nov 00 | Education
01 Jun 00 | Unions 2000
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