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Striking over school abuse

STAFF at Lanchester School who say they’ve been subjected to violence and abuse in the classroom are calling for greater protection.

STAFF at Lanchester School who say they’ve been subjected to violence and abuse in the classroom are calling for greater protection.

On Tuesday, teachers and support staff were demonstrating at the gates of the Smith’s Wood-based special school.

Their one-day walkout comes after some 18 months of talks between unions and the local authority.

Members have said that something has to be done to tackle the rising number of attacks on staff and violence between pupils.

The Solihull News visited the picket line, where staff were amassed with banners and placards, to speak to the strikers.

Robert Kelsall, the NUT’s regional officer, said that the strike had been a last resort for members.

“We’ve been having negotiations with the local authority about the situation and a meeting with ACAS should take place on Friday,” he said.

“If today’s strike doesn’t have the desired effect, then obviously we will be looking at taking further action in future.”

Teachers say that they want more support from the local authority to ensure their safety and that of pupils.

There are also concerns about plans to slash the school’s budget by £300,000, with the loss of nine jobs.

One teacher, who asked not to be named, said that he had been assaulted several times and faced verbal abuse on an almost hourly basis.

“I do wonder, personally, if we haven’t gone so far that there’s no way back from this.

“It’s frustrating because every single person out here today wants to give these young people, who have such a tough start, the best opportunities.”

Solihull Council has said that a new executive principal had been appointed and made immediate changes - including extra training for staff.

A spokesman said: “We would hope that these changes to improve the school will be welcomed by everyone concerned.”

 

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