Support staff at troubled Black Country school vote to strike amid bullying allegations

Almost 90 per cent of support staff at a troubled Black Country school beset by allegations of bullying have voted to strike.

Barcroft Primary School, Willenhall
Barcroft Primary School, Willenhall

Last month 28 teachers from Barcroft Primary School, Willenhall, stayed off work after the reinstatement of two senior leaders who were suspended earlier in the year amid allegations of toxic work practices and safeguarding issues.

This week GMB union members voted for industrial action after complaining about senior school leaders intimidating support staff, teachers and parents.

Employees also faced attacks to their terms and conditions and had their jobs threatened by senior management just before Christmas 2020 in an attempt to slash their hours in half.

Justine Jones, GMB Organiser, said: “Our members cannot tolerate working in such a toxic and abusive environment.

"We will support them in their fight to build a caring, supportive environment for their pupils."

When contacted by the Express & Star the school refused to comment opting to refer the enquiry to Walsall Council.

A spokesman for Walsall Council said: “We continue to work with the unions and staff to reach a solution to resolve the issues at Barcroft Primary School.”

Last month 183 parents of children at the school signed a letter and petition to Walsall Council by Willenhall South councillor Sean Coughlan.

The parents complained: "growing concerns for the safeguarding of their children and staff" and the "lack of trust that has developed since the term began".

Tracy McGuire, who started the petition, said: "As parents we are shocked at what is going on at the school and we feel we can't just sit back and not do anything.

"We have made our feelings clear that we need to stand with these teachers who felt so strongly about what was going on that they did not go into work.

"We feel we have not been kept informed of decisions that have been taken and believe the best solution is for the senior leadership not to be reinstated."

There has been a school on the site since 1885 and was formed in 2005 with the amalgamation of Albion Road Junior School and Elm Street Infant School.

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