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‘They have knives’: Teachers at school rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted strike over violent students who run ‘fight Thursdays’ | UK News



Teachers at a school in Birmingham have gone on strike over fears for their safety from pupils carrying knives and being violent. 

The strike, which was organised by The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), is said to be a “last resort” after concerns of poor pupil behaviour went unaddressed.

Speaking to Sky News, NASUWT said its members “do not feel safe” after being “verbally and physically threatened by pupils” attending Starbank Secondary School.

It added: “Some pupils are carrying knives.

“We have been negotiating with the school management for the last few months to address these issues but as insufficient progress has been made we have felt there was no other option but to take strike action.”

Paul Nesbitt, the NASUWT national executive member for the West Midlands, told the Birmingham Mail of several violent incidents he had heard from staff.

He said: “One teacher told us she was punched in the face by a year seven pupil and ended up with a split lip.

“Another teacher said a pupil had threatened to attack her with a weapon last year but he was still at the school now.”

The union is calling for the school to introduce "knife audits"
The union is calling for the school to introduce ‘knife audits’

Mr Nesbitt said he had witnessed disruption himself, having seen “pupils running along the corridors screaming when they should have been in class”.

“There’s even something called ‘Thursday fight’ when there’s always a fight on the playground on a Thursday,” he said.

The union is now calling for the school, which is rated outstanding by Ofsted, to introduce a series of new policies, including risk assessments, training and “knife audits” to keep both staff and pupils safe.

In a statement, Birmingham City Council said Starbank would remain open to all pupils during the strike action, and that “suitable provision” had been made to ensure lessons continue as normal.

It added: “Conversations are ongoing with trades unions over concerns that have been raised by staff at Starbank School.”

According to NASUWT, around 82% of teachers report a widespread problem of poor pupil behaviour in their schools, and more than half the teachers answering a recent union survey said they had been subjected to verbal abuse by a pupil in the last year.

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