General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Strike school is closed to pupils


14/10/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: BBC News

Movilla High School in Newtownards will be closed to pupils on Tuesday due to an ongoing strike by some teachers.

They are protesting over having pay docked because they refused to teach a pupil who they say assaulted a teacher.

Another union, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers has balloted its 10 members about refusing to teach the pupil in question.

However, the South Eastern Education Board supported the school's governors decision not to expel the child.

About 540 pupils at the school in Newtownards arrived for class on Monday, but were sent home.

The 25 teachers, who are members of the NAS/UWT union picketed outside the school and asked the 12 teachers who are in other unions, not to cover their classes.

The union said teachers were angry that, when they stopped teaching the child, it meant their total pay would be stopped as they were refusing to follow the principal's instructions. They voted to go on indefinite strike.

The South Eastern Education and Library Board said it had met with NAS/UWT officials two weeks ago and proposed a range of measures, including putting in place a support worker for the pupil.

In a statement, the board described the incident as having been "appropriately and proportionately dealt with" by the board of governors.

The board also said it was prepared to meet teachers' representatives at the Labour Relations Agency but claimed NAS/UWT had set out preconditions and the board could not comply with them.



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