Teachers ‘told to leave school’ after refusing to work with ‘violent’ pupils

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Teachers at a school in Edinburgh are having pay deducted after refusing to work with “violent” additional needs pupils.

The NASUWT union has complained of physical assaults and a “constant stream” of verbal abuse from eight children at Kaimes School.

Now, 11 members of staff have been “refused entry” to their classrooms by the local authority over their stance.

City of Edinburgh Council has hit out saying employees cannot pick and choose who they teach, while the union claimed the local authority has tried to “bully and intimidate” its members during the dispute.

John Swinney
A letter has been sent to Education Secretary John Swinney about the school’s situation (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She said: “The teachers, and indeed other pupils at the school have, month after month, faced violent physical assaults, a constant stream of verbal abuse and threats and malicious allegations. Equipment has been smashed and classrooms trashed.

“Rather than supporting the teachers to deal with these pupils, Edinburgh City Council instead has embarked on a campaign of aggressive and punitive actions towards the teachers, simply because they have dared to stand up for what is right.”

Ms Keates added: “The council has sought to bully and intimidate the teachers in a meeting.

“This is one of the most disturbing cases I have ever experienced of an employer failing in its duty of care, not only for staff, but also for the pupils at the school.

“No one should go to work every day with the expectation of being verbally and physically abused and threatened and no reasonable employer would expect them to.”

Ms Keates added the council has sought to bully and intimidate the teachers in a meeting and told them to leave the school premises.

There are 85 members of staff at the school, which has 96 pupils.

The local authority has developed a plan as part of efforts to improve the situation at the school.

It was implemented in August and is claimed to have already shown positive results.

Staff have been brought in to help cover for the teachers who have been “told to leave the school premises”.

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesman said: “The council has been trying to engage with NASUWT at all levels to discuss any concerns they have and we are disappointed that they have failed to respond positively to date and decided on this course of action.

“We cannot have a situation where staff decide who they are and who they are not willing to teach as this would be contrary to their terms of employment.

“We remain committed to working with staff to ensure we improve attainment and wellbeing while also delivering a positive working environment for both teachers and pupils.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The situation at Kaimes School is a matter that can best be resolved by discussions between the City of Edinburgh Council and NASUWT and we encourage both parties to negotiate a solution as soon as possible to allow the pupils education to continue.”

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