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School union withdraws proposal

24-10-2008


24/10/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: The Irish News

The union representing striking teachers in Newtownards has abandoned a proposal to have a pupil taught in isolation.

Staff at Movilla High School are remaining off work but the NASUWT has said it will withdraw one of three proposals for the education of the boy at the centre of the dispute.

Pupils have been at home since last Monday when teachers went out on strike after having their pay docked for refusing to teach a boy they claim assaulted a member of staff.

The 15-year-old pupil is expected to appear before a juvenile court next month, following an investigation by police.

The union met yesterday to consider the outcome of talks with the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) at the Labour Relations Agency.

In a statement the Movilla teachers said they were disturbed by a refusal by the board to consider proposals for resolving the dispute.

It had been suggested that the pupil could be taught in isolation at Movilla by a team of specialist qualified teachers but the union said it was now withdrawing this proposal.

Two further proposals remain - that the pupil be offered an alternative individual education programme or transfer to another school.

"From the outset we have been committed to bringing this dispute to an end and to return to normal working at Movilla High School at the very earliest opportunity," the teachers' statement read.

"NASUWT resolves many problems of this type on a routine basis without the necessity of recourse to industrial action."

In a development last night the SEELB said it wanted to bring in an independent child psychologist to assess the needs of the child.

The child's parents have said the child will stay away from school until the assessment is carried out.

It is unclear when further talks at the Labour Relations Agency may take place but the union said its representatives were keeping themselves available for negotiations.

SEELB chief executive Stanton Sloan said he was "gravely disappointed" that the strike was continuing.

 

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