Teachers at one of Birmingham’s worst-performing schools have walked out on strike in protest at what they claim is poor management and bad behaviour among pupils.
Around 50 members of staff belonging to the NASUWT teaching union are staging the first of three days of strike action at Castle Vale Performing Arts College.
The union has called for an investigation to be launched in to management at the school, which it claims has led to job losses, “inappropriate staff restructuring” and poor behaviour from pupils.
The school will be be closed to all but Year 11 students.
Head teacher Clive Owen said he was “disturbed” by the action and accused the union of “damaging the education” of GCSE students who will be exams in the summer.
Castle Vale recorded one of the lowest GCSE results in the city in 2011, with just 29 per cent of students gaining the benchmark five or more grades including maths and English.
This is compared to the Birmingham average of just under 58 per cent.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, called on the local authority to launch a formal investigation into the school, and use its statutory powers to issue a warning notice of improvement on the school governing body.
She said: “The union and its members have made every effort to engage constructively to resolve this dispute but unfortunately neither the school management nor the governors have responded positively.
“Since 2009, when the problems first emerged, there have been endless meetings but no real or sustained progress. The teachers at the school now have no choice but to move to strike action.”
The industrial action comes three months after a protest by students at the school descended into chaos when a thug threw a firework, which narrowly missed a member of staff.
Around 100 pupils took part in a demonstration against changes to an English GCSE course, which eyewitnesses say was “hijacked” by youngsters from outside the school began throwing eggs and fireworks.
Mr Owen said: “I am disappointed and disturbed that the NAS/UWT union have chosen to damage the education of our children in this way, and this at a time when many students are close to taking their important GCSE examinations.
“We have year 11 students in for lessons that can be run as normal and will use other time to support them with coursework. Other year groups have been asked to remain at home.
“A number of meetings with the union have been held to avoid this.”