The Darwen Teacher Riots: Striking Over Unruly Pupils
IN Lancashire, an Anorak reader tells us about a teacher strike at a school in Darwen:
I had no idea that this story would make it to the national news last night and I’ve never seen as many comments in the Lancashire Telegraph on an article that isn’t about Blackburn Rovers.
There are two secondary schools in Darwen and the other one is now an academy and has moved to a brand new building. The Darwen Vale building is being renovated/rebuilt as part of the schools for the future scheme and the school is presently using the old academy’s premises. It must be difficult for both teachers and kids having to get used to an unfamiliar building (which was an old scruffy dump when I last visited). Also, the previous headteacher died and they are just getting used to a new one.
The general consensus seems to be that it’s a small minority of kids that are causing the problems but the main problem, according to teachers, is the lack of backup from management – i.e. they are often overruled when they confiscate phones and hand out punishments so the unruly kids think they can get away with everything.
However, this comment jumped out at me and I wonder how many other parents are in this situation:
“Being a parent of, probably, one of the culprits I am well aware of what staff have to put up with. If my child is anything like as bad at school as at home I pity the teachers. What can be done, parenting classes perhaps, that will put a stop to his daily abuse and bad attitude I don’t think. I haven’t a clue but I know what I feel like doing every day he lives under my roof. In his “gang” all of them are just as bad as each other back chat with effing and jeffing, smoking not just cigarettes but cannabis on a daily basis. Hands are tied as to what can be done to our offspring. Does not make me feel any better getting this of my chest the frustration is still as bad and I would not blame the teachers one jot if they did strike.”
I find myself feeling sorry for him but also wondering how they got into that situation. Why do some kids act like this and look for trouble and others (like my own kids) just get on with school life. They like to joke and complain about hating school but you can tell they also enjoy it.
I thought I’d update this with latest developments because it seems the strike is back on and will take place tomorrow. Again, I wasn’t going to bother because it’s only a local story but the Mail has picked it up and exaggerated it today.
The Lancashire Telegraph reported on Saturday that talks broke down and the Unions have asked for the school’s management to make changes but this hasn’t happened so far:
Darwen teachers vote to strike over ‘unruly’ pupils
If you read the comments, it’s the same as the first report – most blame the school’s management rather than the kids.
The Mail’s version today:
School on the verge of a nervous breakdown: Teachers set to walk out over pupil misbehaviour
I don’t know which story gives the more accurate picture because I don’t have anything to do with the school but the LT readers’ comments give the impression that the kids aren’t entirely to blame.
By the way Daily Mail, it’s in Darwen, not Blackburn – the school’s name is a giveaway. OK, the towns are next to each other and share a Borough Council but they are separate.
There’s no mention of yesterday’s strike at Bowland High School so teachers going on strike is only worth reporting if it’s because of ‘out-of-control’ pupils.
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