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Eleven teachers sent home from school over 'violent' pupils

Staff at Kaimes School in Liberton, Edinburgh, are not willing to provide lessons.

Kaimes: Teachers have taken industrial action.
Kaimes: Teachers have taken industrial action.

Eleven teachers have been sent home from a school without pay for refusing to teach additional needs pupils who they claim are violent.

The staff at Kaimes School in Liberton, Edinburgh, are not willing to provide lessons to eight pupils over physical and verbal assaults.

Education secretary John Swinney was due to meet union leaders on Wednesday to discuss the issues.

It is claimed the teachers, who are all members of trade union NASUWT, have been hospitalised with injuries including broken bones and concussion.

There are 85 members of staff at the school, which has 96 pupils.

Speaking to STV News, Jane Peckham, the union's National Official for Scotland, said: "There are ten members who presented for work this morning but they were told the preference was to remove them from the school.

"People have been hospitalised with broken bones and concussions and it's due to the specific needs of pupils not being met appropriately.

"The vast majority of pupils at the school don't display violence and aggression.

"These are pupils who have been inappropriately placed in a setting at the school so we want additional support for them.

"The staff have been penalised here instead of addressing the issue."

'People have been hospitalised with broken bones and concussions and it's due to the specific needs of pupils not being met appropriately.' 
Jane Peckham, NASUWT

The union claims staff are being brought in from elsewhere to cover those who have been sent home.

Members balloted for industrial action by refusing to teach or supervise the eight pupils who they believed posed a risk to health, safety and welfare.

Ms Peckham added: "In terms of cover for the teachers, our understanding is it's a combination of supply staff, non teaching staff and senior officials and staff from the council.

"The teachers don't want to create a difficulty and don't want to be visible when they aren't actually teaching.

"It's ludicrous you have ten teachers ready to undertake their duties but have been dispensed with.

"The council isn't exercising the duty of care for the teachers and the vast majority of pupils from that school.

"This is genuinely teachers expressing their right for a safe working environment.

"This isn't about asking the pupils to be removed from the school but making the employer take proper notice of the challenging scenario teachers entering that workplace have to deal with."

'It's ludicrous you have ten teachers ready to undertake their duties but have been dispensed with.'
Jane Peckham, NASUWT

An Edinburgh City Council spokesman said: "As a local authority, we have a duty to provide education to all children in Edinburgh. We are also committed to ensuring our teachers and other staff are fully supported to deliver the excellent level of education children and young people have a right to expect.

"We continually review how we can support our teachers in what at times can be challenging places to work. An improvement action plan for Kaimes School has been developed in consultation with staff and subject to external expert scrutiny.

"This is in the very early stages of being implemented and would urge everyone to work with us as we take this plan forward.

"The council has been trying to engage with NASUWT at all levels to discuss any concerns they have and we are disappointed that they have failed to respond positively to date and decided on this course of action.

"We cannot have a situation where staff decide who they are and who they are not willing to teach as this would be contrary to their terms of employment.

"We remain committed to working with staff to ensure we improve attainment and wellbeing while also delivering a positive working environment for both teachers and pupils.

"This is part of the council's commitment to put inclusion at the heart of everything we do and we want the staff involved and the NASUWT to sit down with us as soon as possible to resolve this situation."

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