Academy head in tears over pupil violence at his school

Teachers at the school on the Isle of Sheppey are striking in response to students’ threatening behaviour

Teachers are on strike for a second day at Oasis Academy on the Isle of Sheppey
Teachers at Oasis Academy are striking for three days over threats to their safety Credit: JAMES BELL/ALAMY LIVE NEWS

An academy trust head has said he “cries” over violence in a Kent school where teachers are on strike for their safety.

Steve Chalke, the founder of Oasis Academies, the trust running a school on the Isle of Sheppey where teachers are on strike, said he was “really sorry about this situation”.

He added: “I cry about it, to tell you the truth.”

Teachers at the Oasis Academy have gone on strike for three days from Tuesday to Thursday over pupil violence, with teachers reporting that members of staff are threatened daily.

Mr Chalke said that pupils’ behaviour across the country had worsened since the pandemic but that it was on a “different level” at the Kent school. He said a lack of funding made it difficult to tackle the issue.

A national crisis

Lisa Reynolds, an English teacher at the school and a local National Education Union representative, said: “We have members of staff who are threatened on a daily basis.”

She added that pupils told teachers they had knives with them and that “they’re going to cut our throats”, BBC Radio Kent reported.

Mr Chalke said some pupils were “deeply traumatised” but that that there was no special needs facility on the island.

“We are throwing everything at it but there is a national crisis in behaviour in schools,” he said.

Matthew Purves, Ofsted’s south east director, said parents needed to “support their children to attend and behave at school”.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “Strike action is damaging to pupils’ learning and disruptive for parents, and we are disappointed to see strikes are continuing.

“We are considering a proposal from two strong local trusts to replace the existing school with two new ones, extending parental choice in the area and ensuring children receive a high quality education.”