The school says he's violent. His mother says otherwise. Now his teachers are to strike

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The Independent Online
A primary school is threatened with closure after a vote by teachers to take strike action unless an unruly pupil is removed from classes.

Seven of the nine staff at Manton Junior School, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, have voted for strike action.

They are all members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), which has repeatedly held such protests over disruptive pupils.

The Manton teachers allege that 10-year-old Matthew Wilson attacked both staff and pupils at the school. At one point, while under suspension, he allegedly returned to the gates of the building with a baseball bat threatening to attack pupils and staff.

They say that he should not be allowed to return. But Matthew's mother, Pamela Cliffe, has denied that he has caused trouble.

The union says Matthew has previously been temporarily excluded for threatening and violent behaviour.

Nigel de Gruchy, the union's general secretary, said his members at the school had voted unanimously for a strike and, if no agreement was made, would take all-out action from next Tuesday when the new term begins.

Governors at the school had twice refused permanently to exclude the boy, ignoring the recommendation of the head and deputy head.

"I believe the governors have acted perversely," said Mr de Gruchy. "The staff have voted 100 per cent in favour of strike action in order to protect themselves and indeed the other children from this violent youngster."

Matthew would have to be educated separately from other children, he added. This would be expensive but was the only option.

Mr de Gruchy has appealed to Gillian Shephard, the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, to intervene.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), has also tried to make contact with the school's governors during the summer holidays in an attempt to resolve the problem, but has received no response.

Fred Riddell, chairman of Nottinghamshire's education committee, said he would deal with the matter when council offices re-opened after the bank holiday. "I don't know what's going to happen," he said.

"We shall be wanting to hear from the teacher representatives about it."

Meanwhile, teachers at a school in Halifax, West Yorkshire, have also voted to strike if they are asked to teach a 13-year-old girl who was expelled last term after allegedly scuffling with a teacher and another pupil.

However, NASUWT deputy general secretary, Eamon O'Kane, said action was not now expected.

He said: "I believe the girl will be taught by the headteacher, and if that's the case, while it's not an ideal situation, it will avoid strike action."

In June, 17 children were withdrawn by their parents from a primary school in Arnold, Nottingham, because of a disruptive eight-year-old boy, Kyle Bent.

In April staff at Glaisdale comprehensive school, also in the city, threatened strike action after the disruption and disobedience of Richard Wilding, a 13-year-old schoolboy.

Eventually the education authority agreed to let the child stay on the school roll but attend special sessions at a referral unity and be taught at home.

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