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EDITIONS
Monday, 16 April, 2001, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Violent pupils 'must be expelled'
Delegates at NUT conference
Teachers voted to consider industrial action
By Sean Coughlan at the National Union of Teachers' conference in Cardiff.

Teachers say they will take industrial action where schools are forced to take back violent and disruptive pupils.

The annual conference of the National Union of Teachers in Cardiff heard of growing concern over disruptive pupils in the classroom.

Delegates voted for the scrapping of the government's "arbitrary" targets to limit exclusions, which they said prevented schools from removing pupils who might threaten the safety of teachers and children

And teachers agreed to industrial action - such as refusing to teach disruptive pupils - where exclusions have been "unreasonably overturned".

NUT conference on Monday calls for
Threat of industrial action where exclusions overturned
End of targets to cut exclusions
Against expansion of specialist schools
Against privatisation of services
Improvements in conditions similar to Scottish teachers

Rejects call to re-start industrial action over teacher shortages
Rejects separate industrial action in support of pay campaign

Goronwy Jones told delegates that behaviour was worse than a decade ago - and that teachers needed greater support in handling difficult or violent youngsters.

The union's general secretary, Doug McAvoy, said that "indiscipline in the streets was feeding into the classroom" and that teachers faced an increasing problem with violent pupils.

And he said that the union last year had sought the continued exclusions of 120 pupils, which appeals panels had sought to reinstate.

On Sunday, the conference heard from Marjorie Evans, the head teacher who was wrongly accused of mistreating a pupil that she was seeking to restrain.

NUT executive member for Wales, Neil Foden, the head of Friars Secondary School in Bangor, said that Ms Evans was not alone in being forced into difficult situations and being put under suspicion because of incidents involving unruly pupils.

Teachers at NUT conference
Teachers rejected resuming industrial action against staff shortages

Teachers had been put through long drawn out investigations for trivial incidents - such as prodding a child on the shoulder - or as a result of malicious allegations, he told the conference.

Injuries

And the conference heard of the case of Jo Daws, a teacher in a Croydon school for behaviourally disturbed pupils who had been forced to leave her job because of back injuries incurred while restraining pupils.

Ms Daws has since received 37,000 in compensation from her employers.

As well as calling for greater protection for teachers, the conference also called for extra funds and staffing to provide support within schools for children with behavioural problems.

The conference also heard angry rejections of the government's plans to reform the secondary school sector - and irritation at the phrase "bog standard comprehensives".

And delegates also confirmed their opposition to the government's proposals to increase the number of specialist schools.

The conference also rejected a second call from militant delegates to restart industrial action over teacher shortages.

Neil Foden
Delegate Neil Foden defended Marjorie Evans

The union's leadership suspended the industrial action on the eve of the conference, but the militant wing of the union wanted it to be resumed when schools return for the summer term.

But the union's moderate leadership saw off the challenge, paving the way for its preferred option of a joint campaign with three other teachers' unions for a reduced workload.

The NUT has formed an alliance with other unions for a demand for a maximum 35-hour week for teachers, a policy adopted by the conference on Sunday.

And in another rejection of a more confrontational approach, the conference also defeated on Monday morning two other calls for industrial action in support of claims over pay and conditions.

This has been seen by some moderates as a "sea change" in the politics of the biggest teachers' union, with the influence of the left wing appearing to diminish.

See also:

09 Apr 01 | UK Education
10 Apr 01 | UK Education
09 Mar 01 | UK Education
13 Apr 01 | UK Education
Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


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