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Teachers at Isle of Dogs school stage three-day walkout over bullying allegations

PUBLISHED: 16:53 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:10 21 May 2019

Staff at Harbinger Primary in the Isle of Dogs have gone on strike. Picture: NEU

Staff at Harbinger Primary in the Isle of Dogs have gone on strike. Picture: NEU

Archant

A school's staff have gone on strike after accusing a headteacher of 'unacceptable' behaviour.

Teachers and support workers from Harbinger Primary in Cahir Street, Isle of Dogs, are staging a three-day walk out over allegations Andy Smith had bullied and discriminated against them.

A striking National Education Union (NEU) member, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "All children deserve to learn in a school that is led with professionalism where the school's headteacher behaves with integrity and without discrimination.

"Our members have provided ample evidence of bullying, discrimination and incompetence."

The NEU reported that 100 per cent of members at the school voted for the action on an 87pc turnout.

The union notified Tower Hamlets Council its members at the school - which was rated as 'Good' in its last Ofsted inspection - would strike on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The disgruntled staff have demanded Mr Smith apologise for 'unacceptable behaviour' which they say includes urging individuals to resign as well as failures to uphold equalities legislation.

They also want Mr Smith's behaviour to be recognised as bullying and for him to treat staff professionally.

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The NEU members add that if any of their demands are not met consistently then capability procedures should be started immediately.

The strikers say they first raised concerns in a collective grievance - where a group of staff can take a complaint to their employer - which was submitted last November.

But they remain angry with Tower Hamlets Council which they called on to provide more support.

The strikers want the local authority to apologise for what they describe as the 'disrespectful, negligent and unbalanced' way it handled their grievances.

The NEU Member said: "We deeply regret having to resort to strike action and any resultant disruption that will be caused to parents and children.

"However, the local authority's refusal to work with us to address the issue of leadership at Harbinger School has left NEU members with no choice."

A Tower Hamlets spokesman said: "This is an issue for the governing body of the school.

"It is regrettable that staff are taking industrial action. We are working with all parties concerned to support a quick resolution and we hope that the issues can be resolved as quickly as possible."

The Advertiser asked the council to set up an interview with Mr Smith but it sent a statement instead.

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