Birmingham & Black Country

Strike at school where pupils threw food at inspectors

Teachers on strike at the school
Image caption Ofsted described the school as "coasting" in its report earlier this year

Teachers at a troubled Black Country school have walked out over "unreasonable management" and the safety of staff.

Willenhall E-ACT Academy was rated "inadequate" in a March Ofsted report after pupils threw food at inspectors.

The school said it had offered to delay the implementation of a new timetable to divert the strike action.

But the NUT and NASUWT say 18 months of negotiations with management over behaviour are not "getting anywhere".

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Image copyright Google
Image caption The school said raising expectations was its top priority
Image caption Five further strike days are planned over the next two weeks

Anne Brimacombe, national executive member of NASUWT for Birmingham, said: "Teachers feel like they're not being listened to and the behaviour situation is not getting any better."

She said there had been "malicious allegations" against staff and following reports of food being thrown at Ofsted inspectors added: "If they're doing that to senior leadership what are they doing to regular teachers?"

More than 30 teachers were on the picket line earlier, Ms Brimacombe claimed.

Further strike action is planned for 5 and 6 July and three days the following week.

Image caption The school said truancy and bad behaviour had "reduced considerably" since the report in March

Ms Brimacombe said there was "massive confusion" at the school due to a high turnover of staff.

Between 2015 and 2016, 70% of teachers left the school and there have been three different head teachers this year.

"There is a culture of blaming the staff, not supporting them," she said.

A spokesperson from E-ACT said: "We take seriously the concerns raised by union members and believe that these are being addressed at pace and with urgency.

"Raising the expectations at Willenhall is the absolute top priority for E-ACT and a raft of changes and improvements are already under way."

With the support of other staff from elsewhere in E-ACT, the school is open as normal, the spokesperson added.

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