Liverpool school to close in row over 'bad behaviour' as staff stage walk out

St Edward's College, West Derby, Liverpool
The school is set to close on two days this week -Credit:Liverpool Echo

A Liverpool high school will close this week as dozens of staff stage a walk out in a row over pupil behaviour.

St Edward's College in West Derby is set to close on Tuesday and Thursday this week as staff take part in strike action. The National Education Union said sixty of its members will take part in the industrial action after "negotiations broke down in a trade dispute centred around pupil behaviour last week." Other strike days have also been planned for next week.

A letter from St Edward's College, sent to parents and carers and seen by the ECHO, said the school has met with the NEU many times over the previous term "to provide action and reassurance about various issues, including behaviour, equipment for teaching and directed time."

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Principal of St Edward's College Stephen Morris and Chair of Governors John O’Brien said they felt dialogue was "positive and constructive" and many matters raised by the NEU have been resolved.

The school said it recognises staff’s right to strike but understand parents may be concerned about the damaging effect it will have on pupils, particularly in Year 11 and Year 13. The school said it is seeking "urgent clarification" around the matters the NEU believe are unresolved so "meaningful dialogue" can continue.

St Edward's College is set to close on the following dates due to industrial action:

  • Tuesday 23 April 2024

  • Thursday 25 April 2024

  • Tuesday 30 April 2024

  • Wednesday 1 May 2024

  • Thursday 2 May 2024

The school said it hopes to offer online resources to help pupils learn from home on the strike days. A small number of pupils will be invited to work in school – but most will not be able to be accommodated.

Bora Oktas, regional officer of the NEU said: “Unfortunately, the college’s management of poor pupil behaviour and staff safety has been inadequate.

"Despite our members’ efforts to address these issues, the employer’s failure to implement agreed-upon resolutions has left staff and pupils at risk. Our members have shown remarkable patience and dedication throughout this process since January.

"They came to the negotiation table with genuine intentions, but unfortunately, the employer has taken their good will for granted.”

In January, the NEU said it sent a resolution document to the school outlining how pupil behaviour could be effectively addressed and the necessary support and resources required. Bora Oktas, regional officer of the NEU said: “Although the employer signed this agreement in February, progress has been sluggish due to some CLT members dragging their feet in implementation.

“We find it disappointing that the employer has not honoured the spirit of the resolution agreement. We expected the employer to implement the agreement promptly. Instead, they have been consistently finding excuses to delay implementation. Our members deserve better.”

St Edward's College said it has agreed to establish a workplace joint union-management negotiation and consultation committee, and diarised the first meeting of this. It added: "Rest assured, we seek to continue our positive engagement with the NEU and earnestly hope that they will engage meaningfully with us."

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