Teachers at strike-hit school compile blacklist of pupils they are refusing to teach
Twm Owen, local democracy reporter
A blacklist of pupils who teachers are refusing to teach has been handed to a school where strikes over violence in the classroom have taken place.
Teachers have staged three days of strike action at Caldicot School since September as they say the school has failed to address concerns, stretching back to 2019, over physical and verbal abuse from pupils.
When the NASUWT teaching union announced, in September, that 85 per cent of members at the school had voted to take strike action it also said 92 per cent had supported action short of strike, which included the refusal to teach pupils who pose a risk to staff.
The union has confirmed it has told the school there are named pupils that its members are refusing to teach.
However a mum who said she has been told, by the school, her 13-year-old daughter is among those pupils identified by the union said she has never been violent but acknowledged she could be disruptive.
She said: “I’ve been told my daughter is on a list the union has drawn up of children they will refuse to teach, she could go to school but they will not let her in lessons.
“It is soul destroying and she is not a danger to anyone.”
Mental health issues
The mum, who the Local Democracy Reporting Service has agreed not to name to protect the identity of her daughters, said the 13-year-old is on a risk register due to mental health issues which are known to the school and Monmouthshire County Council.
She also said she shared the concerns of teachers over violence at the school as she said her older daughter had been subjected to a prolonged period of bullying and at one time had to be physically shielded by teachers to prevent another pupil from attacking her.
Despite agreeing action is needed to address behaviour at the school the mum said she disagreed with the way her daughter could be subject to a classroom bar and questioned how the school was addressing the needs of pupils as well as classing those requiring support with pupils who are violent.
She said: “I support the school and do everything in my power to help but I can’t support teachers picking and choosing who they will teach.
“How can a union have her name on a list when they don’t know her or know anything about her?
“I don’t know what putting her name on a list will mean for her. Because she can’t conform and isn’t a perfect child does that mean she has no right to education for the rest of her life?
“As a parent it’s sad for me I don’t want people thinking that of my child or that is how I’ve brought her up.”
When she was told teachers could refuse to teach her daughter the mum said she was also asked for her thoughts on her daughter being placed in what she called alternative provision.
The mum said while it may be her daughter, who she said has been on a waiting list to see an educational psychologist and for CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services), is unable to continue in mainstream classes she disputed her daughter should be excluded from them.
“She has never tried to hurt a teacher, she has lashed out verbally and refused to conform but when she has got back on track and gone back to lessons teachers have also been hostile towards her.”
She added: “Not once have they asked her why are you acting like that or tried to get to the bottom of it.”
Members of the NASUWT and NEU teaching unions both staged strike action, which closed the school to pupils, on Wednesday, October 25.
In July Gwent’s Education Achievement Service, which supports schools and council education departments, held a two day review at Caldicot School that found the behaviour of some pupils put learning at risk and that up to 40 per cent of pupils didn’t report positive relationships or that they were well supported by their teachers.
Monmouthshire County Council, which has said it is “disappointed” efforts to resolve issues behind the dispute haven’t succeeded, was asked to comment on the school being presented with a list of pupils teachers were refusing to teach, how many names have been presented to the school and what provision is in place to educate those pupils but it has failed to respond.
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