Parents urge schools minister to intervene over strike

Parents and pupils at a school closed for two weeks because of a strike by teachers called today for the North’s Education Minister to step in.

More than 30 parents together with pupils demonstrated at the gate of Movilla High School in Newtownards, County Down, over the failure of the local education board and teachers’ union to resolve the dispute.

Members of the NASUWT went on strike on Monday last week when the South-Eastern Education and Library Board stopped paying them because of their refusal to teach a boy who they claimed had assaulted a teacher.

The teenager is due to appear in juvenile court in relation to the incident, police confirmed this week.

After talks yesterday between the union and the education board under the auspices of the Labour Relations Agency failed to resolve the dispute, parents demanded minister Caitriona Ruane intervene.

Parent Karen Robinson said: “We want the minister to come down here to the school, we want the board to come here and we want the minister to intervene and tell the board enough is enough.

“We had been led to believe this was about a young lad at the school – it’s nothing to do with that.

“It is about the money for special needs children and the spending cuts the board is making.”

Mrs Robinson, speaking on behalf of other parents, said they had held talks with the NASUWT representatives at the school gate today and now wanted to see the board.

“We are supporting the children, we want the teachers back in the school and if this is not resolved by the end of half-term next week we will have every parent and every pupil outside this school protesting.

“The union said the teachers want back, the parents want them back, the pupils want to go back – so what’s the problem?

“We want the board down here so we can ask them what they’re going to do about it, only the board can sort this out.”

She said most parents worked and it was causing havoc for them trying to provide childcare while still keeping their jobs.

Her son, James, is due to sit GCSE exams next month and she said he was getting worried that the school would not be open.

More on this topic

Classes resume at strike-hit school in Co Down

Pupil at centre of teachers' strike to face prosecution

Union threatens legal action over school dispute

Teachers await fresh proposals to end strike


More in this Section

Covid-19 Locator Form mandatory for overseas arrivals from todayCovid-19 Locator Form mandatory for overseas arrivals from today

Second-hand clothing business in Cork ‘used as front for drug distribution’Second-hand clothing business in Cork ‘used as front for drug distribution’

Holohan ‘little bit worried’ about rise in ICU admissionsHolohan ‘little bit worried’ about rise in ICU admissions

The Lotto numbers are in...The Lotto numbers are in...


Lifestyle

Some days you’ve got to make your own sunshine, writes Annmarie O'ConnorTrend of the Week: Escape from lockdown loungewear with these creative closet options

Children’s author Sarah Webb didn’t want sixth class pupils to miss out on their graduation, so to mark their end of year she organised a series of inspirational videos delivered by well-known Irish people, says Helen O’CallaghanIrish celebrities help students say goodbye to primary school

We are all slowing our pace and appreciating the wonders around us, says Peter DowdallMagical maple holds us spellbound

Sustainable gardening tips and a fascinating documentary are among the offerings on your TV todayThursday TV Highlights: A Prime Time look at how schools will cope in the Covid era features in today's TV picks

More From The Irish Examiner