Violence fuels strike action

31st March 2000 at 01:00
TEACHERS are increasingly threatening strike action in protest at being forced to teach unruly or violent children.

This week, staff at St Chad's Roman Catholic primary school, Manchester, threatened to walk out if they were made to teach a seven-year-old girl who had spat at and kicked a female teacher.

The girl, who has been excluded five times, had been expelled but was reinstated by an independent appeal panel.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, confirmed his members were refusing to teach the child, who will now be taught separately.

The Manchester case is the latest in a spiralling number, according to the union.

Last year, staff at 14 schools threatened to walk out if chilren were not removed. However, in the first two months of this year, the union has come across 20 cases.

The National Union of Teachers said it was dealing with four separate cases of teachers refusing to teach pupils. Strikes have been avoided by exclusion or teaching the child in isolation.

Mr de Gruchy said: "Violence in the classroom has gone from being an exclusively male preserve to include females, and it has gone down the age range."

He blamed the increase in staff action on the Government, which is pressuring schools not to exclude children.

The Department for Education and Employment has said most excluded primary pupils should be re-integrated within one term, and strongly encourages authorities to adopt a "one out, one in" policy.

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