Darwen strike school head teacher resigns

Teachers outside the school on Thursday
Image caption Members of teaching unions held a strike in April

A Lancashire head teacher whose staff went on strike over pupil behaviour at her school has resigned.

Hilary Torpey had been suspended since May after the one-day walkout by teachers at Darwen Vale High School in April.

Staff complained of a lack of support in tackling problem pupils.

Mrs Torpey said she plans to continue her education career elsewhere and accused the media of making misleading statements.

Interim head John Lawson was appointed when Mrs Torpey was suspended after the strike.

'Inherited policy'

An advert for a permanent head teacher to start in January 2012 has already been posted.

Mrs Torpey issued the following statement: ''Regrettably recent circumstances make it impossible for me to continue my work at Darwen Vale.

"I now intend to continue my career in education elsewhere.

"Contrary to misleading statements in the media I did not introduce a new behaviour policy but worked within the policy I inherited from my predecessor.

"I am grateful to the pupils and parents for their support during my tenure as head teacher and wish the school well for the future.''

The governors and Blackburn with Darwen Council thanked her for the work she had done at the school.

'Thoroughly vindicates'

About 70 teachers took part in the strike at the 1,100-pupil school in Holden Fold, Darwen, during a one-day walkout on 7 April.

Unions claimed pupils had physically and verbally abused staff and filmed lessons on mobile phones and threatened to post them online.

John Girdley, from the NASUWT teaching union, said: "We are delighted at the outcome for the staff and with a sensible choice of new head teacher the school should carry on improving.

"Mrs Torpey's decision thoroughly vindicates the stance taken by staff against poor management."

Darwen Vale High School is currently being rebuilt and is due to open in September 2012.

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