Union to meet trust as more strikes planned in Kent over pupil threats and violence

Teachers strike at Oasis Academy, Isle of Sheppey in Kent.

Further strikes are planned at a Kent secondary school where teachers have suffered threats and violence from pupils.

Staff at Oasis Academy, on the Isle of Sheppey, went on strike on Wednesday this week demanding a zero-tolerance approach to bad behaviour after months of concerns about safety.

National Education Union (NEU) bosses are meeting the Oasis Community Learning Trust on Friday November 24 before more strike action is expected over five days.

The days of action are planned for November 28 and 29, and December 5 to 7.

Nick Childs, senior regional officer for the NEU, said ahead of the first strike that behaviour at the school is currently “completely unacceptable” with lessons regularly disturbed and staff safety put at risk.

On Thursday, an NEU spokesperson said: “Educators and pupils have a right, first and foremost, to be safe at school. Effective behaviour management in the classroom is essential for a good learning environment.

“Sadly, our members feel that this is not the currently case at Oasis Sheppey Academy despite some progress in negotiations being made in recent days.

“Further days of action have been scheduled for next week and we are meeting the trust on Friday to try and resolve the situation.

“Critical to the resolution of the dispute will be the acceptance, by the employer, that there needs to be a zero-tolerance approach to assaults and threats of assaults against pupils and teachers.”

Staff at the school are calling for 10-day fixed exclusions for pupils who threaten or assault staff or pupils after a number of incidents of threats and violence.

It is understood demands have been met over workload and a promised bonus payment in negotiations between the union and the trust but deteriorating behaviour is still being resolved.

The academy was rated inadequate by schools watchdog Ofsted in 2022.

An Oasis Community Learning Trust spokesperson said: “Whilst this is a scenario that nobody wants, we have had positive discussions with the union, and we are confident that we have made significant progress.

“We remain committed to working positively with staff representatives to try and avoid any future disruption, and to ensure that Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey is a school where everybody can thrive.”

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