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Teachers strike as ‘inspirational’ Greenwich teacher suspended 'with no reason'

St Ursula’s Convent School Greenwich teachers to strike for Mr Turpie <i>(Image: Ciara Power (@Ciarapower99 on X))</i>
St Ursula’s Convent School Greenwich teachers to strike for Mr Turpie (Image: Ciara Power (@Ciarapower99 on X))

Teachers will be striking in solidarity with a Greenwich teacher who has been suspended based on a “concerning” and “seemingly arbitrary allegation”.

Alexander Turpie is a teacher at St Ursula’s Convent School in Greenwich and also a long-standing representative of the National Education Union (NEU).

Mr Turpie has worked at the school for 22 years.

He was suspended at the start of the academic year as a result of the allegation made against him, but according to the NEU there has been no outcome to any investigation and no date for when he will return.

One teacher shared their thoughts on X, formerly known as Twitter, branding the whole thing as “scandalous” and saying that Mr Turpie is “the best teacher and person I’ve ever worked with”.

In a statement shared by the NEU on behalf of the staff striking, they have said that the union has reluctantly voted in favour of the strike action and that they “deeply regret” the disruption this will cause.

However, they have said they feel it is “necessary in the current climate of uncertainty in the school”.

He has been described by the NEU as a “dedicated and inspirational teacher” who has continued to give back to the community throughout his career.

Mr Turpie has run 13 residential trips and led the student football team for 18 years.

Staff feel that he “deeply cares” for the school community and his “highly respected” by past and present staff and students.

While they are being asked to “trust the process” by the school, they feel there has been little transparency about the processes and policies being applied to Mr Turpie and the allegation.

Staff are calling for him to be reinstated with immediate effect.

The school has said that it is their priority to get children back in classrooms and that they are “working around the clock” to resolve the matter with the NEU.

The school claims that it will keep parents updated.

Ursula Norbert, interim headteacher of St Ursula’s Convent School, said: “It is our priority to get pupils back into the classrooms as soon as possible, which is why we are working around the clock to resolve this matter with the National Education Union.

“We appreciate this is having an impact on pupils, parents and staff alike.

“We are working closely with the London Borough of Greenwich and will continue to engage with staff and the Union.

“The school will keep parents updated and we hope to return to delivering the high-quality education our pupils deserve soon.”