Teachers strike after violent pupils threaten to stab staff at 'outstanding' Birmingham school

David Harding
Contributor
Teachers take part in industrial action to express their concern over pupil "indiscipline" and measures to safeguard staff. (PA)

Teachers have gone on strike outside an "outstanding" school in protest against pupils attacking staff, fighting each other and bringing knives into classrooms.

Starbank Secondary School in Yardley, Birmingham, was described by Ofsted as being an "outstanding and highly inclusive school" where pupils behaviour is "exemplary."

But teachers walked out on Thursday in a dispute over the behaviour levels at the "flagship" school, which have become so bad they have been issued with panic buttons.

Staff say they fear for their safety when they turn up for work and are terrified of walking the corridors in between lessons so they stay in their classrooms.

Others have reported being physically attacked and punched by students who have also threatened to stab or "shank" them.

Following months of union negotiations, teacher decided to go on strike outside the school gates to demand tougher disciplinary procedures.

Parents have backed the protest and say headteacher Satnam Dosanjh has "lost control" of the school, which is rife with knife-carrying gangs and bullies.

Emma Wall, 34, who has a 13-year-old daughter called Sydney at the school, said:
“It’s got to the point I’ve got a counsellor for my daughter here.

"It has affected her mental health. I’m not sending her to school today to make a point. Her attendance is down to 90 per cent to avoid the bullies.

"Sometimes she has to run home. It’s beyond a joke. What more is going to happen? Will somebody get stabbed?”

Tina Seabright, 33, has a 13-year-old daughter Megan and a 12-year-old son Adam at the school and has applied to withdraw both her children.

She said: “Sometimes Adam doesn’t want to go to school because he’s scared of the bullies. He used to love it. This school was gone right down.

She added: “The head teacher has lost control. She shouldn’t be working here. She can’t even stop the children running through the corridors.

Adam added: “An 11-year-old boy brought in a flick knife.

“He went ‘If you want me to stab some body just tell me’. His face looked serious."

Parents say discipline at the country has dropped dramatically (PA)

Paul Nesbitt, NASUWT National Executive Member for the West Midlands, said the problem was not isolated to one of two gangs but a widespread issue throughout all year groups.

He added: “One teacher was punched in the face by a Year 7 pupil and ended up with a split lip.

"Another woman was threatened with a knife or shank by a boy between 11 and 13.”

Mr Nesbitt added: “The head teacher is a nice lady and she’s doing her best but she’s from a primary school background.

Starbank School is a mixed "all-through" primary and secondary catering for over 2,000 pupils aged between 3-16.

A second strike is planned for July 3.

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