Teachers at a secondary school in the North were on strike today as a dispute over a pupil who assaulted a teacher deepened.
Some 25 teachers at Moville High School in Newtownards, Co Down – all members of the NASUWT union – were backing the indefinite action, claiming they had been unfairly penalised for refusing to teach the pupil.
Those striking amount to around half of the teaching staff at the school but the South Eastern Education and Library Board said the school would remain open and pupils should attend as normal.
The NASUWT claimed the teachers had been docked pay for refusing to teach the pupil.
Following the assault they had voted not to teach the pupil but made clear to the headmaster that they intended to teach all other pupils.
However the union claimed they were told they would be paid to teach all pupils in the class or none.
Seamus Searson, Northern Ireland organiser of the teachers’ union, said: “Clearly we cannot tolerate a situation where our members are not paid for the work they are doing and where, in effect, all the pupils are being punished for the behaviour of one.
“All along we have made it clear that our members want to continue teaching their classes, but this particular pupil needs a new start with specialised support.”
Mr Searson hit out at the education board for its handling of the situation.
“The failure of the South Eastern Education and Library Board to provide proper support for this pupil is having a devastating impact on teachers and students alike,” he said.