Teachers at Kent Academy Stage Walkout Over Safety Concerns: Pupil Behavior in Focus

Teachers at Kent Academy Stage Walkout Over Safety Concerns: Pupil Behavior in Focus

Teacher Strikes at Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey

Teachers at the Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey in Kent have gone on strike, citing concerns over staff safety related to the behavior of pupils. The National Education Union (NEU) announced the strike, claiming failed negotiations over the safe management of poor pupil behavior and overall safety at the academy.

Background: Inadequate Ratings and Special Measures

The academy, rated inadequate by Ofsted in August 2022, has been grappling with issues such as bullying, racism, homophobia, vandalism, and a lack of understanding of sexual consent among pupils. Placed into special measures, the school faces challenges ranging from poor attendance to uncontrolled behavior, leading to suspensions and expulsions.

Ofsted Findings: Serious Weaknesses and Improvement Efforts

Ofsted’s report highlighted the pervasive issues within the academy, including unchallenged sexist, homophobic, and racist language.

The lack of understanding of concepts such as consent and the legal implications of certain behaviors were also noted. Despite two subsequent visits and some improvements, the school has faced ongoing challenges.

Current Situation: Trust Changes and Future Plans

A new trust has been appointed, and proposals are in place to split the academy into two new schools. Despite these measures, teachers have initiated strike action, expressing dissatisfaction with the ongoing safety concerns and deteriorating behavior.

Further strikes are scheduled for the end of November and early December.

NEU’s Perspective: Safety Demands and Unresolved Issues

The NEU, representing the striking teachers, emphasized the need for fixed exclusion tariffs for assaults or threats against staff and pupils.

The union highlighted the unresolved safety concerns and the deteriorating behavior at the school, leading to regrettable but unavoidable strike action.

Academy’s Response: Commitment to Positive Collaboration

In response to the strikes, the Oasis Academy expressed a commitment to working positively with staff representatives to address concerns and avoid future disruptions.

The statement underscores the academy’s dedication to creating an environment where everyone can thrive, signaling a collaborative approach to resolving the ongoing issues.**

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