Teachers’ strike puts Castle Vale School in media spotlight

Teachers huddle in protest outside the School gates

Around 40 teachers from Castle Vale School picketed the school gates this morning in protest at alleged adverse management practices and lack of support for management of disruptive pupils.

Television crews interviewing for tonight's news bulletins

Television camera crews from BBC and Central News were there, along with Five Live national radio, BBC WM and local press including the Birmingham Mail. BBC Radio 5 Live, which has millions of listeners across the country, broadcast a live report and interview from the scene.
The strike action has brought national attention to a very localised issue.
Anne Brimacombe of the NAS/UWT teachers’ union hopes that the LEA will now intervene to help settle a dispute that  has been going on for some time, and that the schoool governors have been unable to resolve. The school is closed today for pupils from Years 7-10, but remains open for Year 11 pupils.
Two more days of strikes are planned for later this month.
Headteacher Clive Owen said: “I am disappointed and disturbed that the NAS/UWT union have chosen to damage the education of our children in this way, and this at a time when many students are close to taking their important GCSE examinations. We have year 11 students in for lessons that can be run as normal and will use other time to support them with coursework. Other year groups have been asked to remain at home for the day. A number of meetings with the union have been held to avoid this.”
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT said: “The Union and its members have made every effort to engage constructively to resolve the dispute but unfortunately neither the School management nor the Governors have responded positively. Since 2009 when the problems first emerged, there have been endless meetings but no real or sustained progress. Pupils and teachers deserve better.”


39 responses to “Teachers’ strike puts Castle Vale School in media spotlight

  1. Is it any wonder with the so called management? they are an absolute joke!

    The pupils went on strike because of them, staff are leaving the place at an alarming rate and now the staff are on strike. Even the governors are getting out.


  2. The kids are gettin unruly and disruptive cause the teachers can’t control them or they haven’t no respect for the kids. Half the teachers at this school don’t no how to teach let alone control them.

  3. One of the main problems at this school is the parents of the children. As they don’t believe in disciplining their children and have a problem with the school doing so. I have a child at this school and i am happy with them and their teaching methods but the teachers can only do so much. The problems lie with the pupils parents needing to step up their ways and attitudes.

  4. Claire,
    I assume you are a parent that feels teachers should have to “control” the kids? If certain parents done their jobs, kids would come into the school and want to learn and therefore; little control would be needed. I’d love to see you try and control 30 pupils in say a maths class at 2pm on a Friday afternoon!

    Go back and get educated on the reason as to why the strike is happening

  5. xxxxx lover (aka chav)

    take it castle vale will have yet another bad name were only on the news for something negative and nothing positive , makes us well proud to go to the school and be branded as something were not aka chavs! weve noticed when the teachers have something to protest about they get seen but as pupils when we protested we got ignored ….(xxxxxxxxxxxxx)

  6. xxxxxxxxxxx (aka chav)

    the majority of us at castle vale are willing to learn ! …. we just have to much negativity about us ,,,,,…. guys think positive

  7. xxxxxxxxxx (aka chav)

    so its alright for the teachers to go on strike? and when us pupils do we get screwed at ? 😦 sadtimes, i attend castle vale school, i don’t like being stereotyped as a naughty chav 😦

  8. the school is good with vlevr kids but then u get naughty ones who get permed then xxxxxxxxxxxxx lets them back in and run riot

  9. xxx xxxxxxxxxxx

    It seems to one that the teaching staff are getting as naughty as the misbehaving chavs they were incompetently attempting to teach. Bring back the cane and stricter school policy, This should sort these chav hooligans out. Sack the teaching staff and employ hard line professional teaching staff with zero tolerance for bad behaviour off the chav culture children and that includes parent behaviour too.

  10. Sutton Coldfiel citizen

    You don’t see or experience this type of pupil’s ruling the roost naughty chav behaviour at Sutton schools, We would not allow it.

  11. Decent people are afraid of these comp kids when they come out of school and the teachers are afraid of them when there in school. You walk past the building and the kids throw things out the windows at you and shout abuse while the teachers cower and hide under there desks. Bring back Sid James, Hattie Jaques and Bernard Breslaw for a film version of carry on comp.

  12. Now I realise that it is not appropriate to ‘name and shame’ on forums such as this, I do have a question… Why has Mr Owen or any of the governing body, not responded to the media over this? Is it a case of fear of misrepresentation or pretending the situation is not happening?

  13. re: sutton coldfield person
    1 its resident as you live an area
    you experience this behaviour no matter where your child goes to school , comp pupils are no better or worse behaved than grammer school educated children, a child will only learn if they are willing to listen and knuckle down
    being a supposed posh child does not always make for a better adult
    the strike is not a question of the pupils its questioning how the school is run
    ie a pupil was sent home for not having a pencil case, and another used bad language to a teacher and nothing was done about it
    now how can that be a behaviour problem

  14. how can the teaching staff have a zero tolerance policy when management refuse to acknowledge there is bad behaviour?

    A friend of mine was physically assaulted in that school (a teacher) and the reply of management was to give the kid a detention. I heard the kid didnt turn up for the detention and nothing was done about it.

    My question to you is this? why should anyone including a teacher, doctor, nurse, firefighter etc have to deal with this behaviour and style of management? the police don’t take it (quite rightly) and why should these teachers?

    As a friend of someone that works in CV, I have heard about the way the staff are treated. Yes there are badly behaved pupils but they continually get away with everything they do. Equally staff tell me that there are fantastic pupils that cant work because staff spend so much time dealing with disruptive pupils. the main problem I can deduce is extremely bad management


  15. Did anyone see the head teacher of Perry Beeches on Midlands today talking about the strike? I think he is the kind of leader they need at the Vale; someone who faces up to the media, someone who values the Vale’s teachers, someone who inspires people to make a difference and someone with a track record of success.
    I believe good leadership will sort this mess out.

  16. we are not chavs. stop sterio-typing us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. to whoever likes to brand us as chavs we are not . i wish you would stop judging us . were all talented individuals who can succed in life !. we do wish that people would stop all this hate about our school. like people say dont judge a book by its cover!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. xxxxxxxxxxx get a head like the perry beeches head in! please someone listen in Birmingham Education Authority.

    The pupils have talked
    the teachers have talked


  19. Oh my life! Did you see the LEA’s response on Central tonight? They do not see this issue as their responsibility and will not get involved!!!! What needs to happen before they do their jobs???? No wonder schools are deciding to rule themselves as academies if this is an example of LEA ‘leadership’ they should be ashamed.

  20. Erdington Resident

    There can be no teaching or learning without decent behaviour. Stating that the teachers ‘don’t know how to teach’ is really unhelpful Claire. They won’t be able to teach unless control is established first and that needs to stem from strong leadership and management at the top.

  21. This strike was long overdued – the management had been poor xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. Which consists off:
    -ridiculous punishment for petty faults (such as being internally excluded for forgetting to bring a pencil)
    -bad supply teachers who does not attempt to teach (xxxxxxxxx in 2007)
    – failing to hire teachers (For many years the entire maths department consists of just one qualified teacher and ever changing list of suppply teacher)
    – Attempting to replace qualified teachers with teachfirst students (2007)
    -Dropping GCSE Literature despite the Year 11 has been preparing for it since Yr9 and meaning that they come out disadvantaged compared to other schools

    xxxxxx has only ever focussed on the image of the school instead of the problems within.
    Hopefully this strike would give the management a serious shake up.

  22. I like this open forum which allows the community to discuss issues such as this. We have had the opinions of pupils and parents, the teachers are not allowed to by the school so they have to strike to be heard, the LEA are ignoring the problem, the Head puts out a predictable statement. Are there any governors out there?
    And what a perceptive comment from a head who knows what education is about.

  23. I also saw that headteacher from Perry Beeches on telly.
    So our school could have had the best headteacher in the country. Who put a stop to that ?

  24. I agree with you on all of your points apart from those made about staff recruitment.
    Cover teachers are a necessary evil so to speak because of the fact that it has been impossible to fill certain posts. Without supply teachers then quite simply there would not be bodies in front of children.
    You need to ask yourself why it is that posts have been so difficult to fill, and why certain Maths teachers have been forced out.
    As for teach first, completely disagree there also, wether new teachers are teach first, pgce, skit, nqt or whatever the profession will always have new teachers coming in. It’s more a case of these folk being the only ones prepared to come and work (like supply) than anything else.
    If you want to criticise the ability of either supply or any other teachers, especially new teachers to teach then you have to look at the pupils they are trying to teach.

  25. Ok, So Castle Vale School isn’t as ‘Nice’ or ‘Academically achieving’ as Sutton Coldfield and to be perfectly honest I’m glad because i know when I do leave the school I will not be a pompus snob! I do not class myself as a chav because I honestly want to do well, and the teachers help you in every way they can! I am only in Year 9 now but last year I received my C Grade at Maths, which is purely down to not just my own hard work and motivation but also BRILLIANT teachers and support ! If it wasn’t for my maths teacher (Mr xxxxxxxx) holding after school classes WHICH HE DIDN’T GET PAID FOR!! I would not of received a C! It is management to blame – without management you CANNOT have perfect behaviour (as you apparently have in Sutton Coldfield) or Good Results – xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    A Castle Vale Student who DOES want to do well and achieve and will NOT leave with my blinkers on !

    As someone else pointed out DON’T STEREOTYPE – You’ve never been to the school!

  26. Its getting pathetic now you don’t realist how angry you make the pupils feel by naming them something there not ! Castle vale does have a chance to succeed and the pupils could sure prove you haters wrong ! Give them a chance! you don’t realise how you make the pupils feel unconfident by saying there bad and showing there going to fail ‘ ! Come on have some belief I’n us and support us pupils ‘!

  27. As an ex – pupil, im fully aware that the school struggles to hire teachers, particularly due to its reputation. But the fact i want to highlight is that, despite the senior management knowing that there was severe issues with the supply teachers – they do not try to do anything to rectify it.

    For example, in my science class one year – the entire class spent many lessons playing card games and at one occassion started playing with lighters and deodrant. The supply teacher did not attempt to try to bring the class into control and neither did any of the senior management attempt to rectify the problem. Although the pupils were at fault. surely so was the teachers.
    In general, most of the teachers, i believe, are committed and are willing to teach. But, for those that are not; surely something should have been done.

  28. As a former teacher at castle vale school, I am not at all suprised by the strike action. I remember there being many problems with lack of support from management and inconsistencies with dealing with poor behaviour (things like the case of kids being sent home for not having a pencil, but nothing done when teachers are being sworn at). There are many very talented and wonderful pupils at the school and I feel sad for them that they tend to all get put in the same category as the ones who don’t care and deliberately disrupt lessons. Changes with management certainly need to take place and teachers need to be supported by them rather than criticised.

  29. I really don’t understand how people can lie about us and say we throw fireworks what do you think we are? Fair play to the teachers but not everyone in our school missbehaves that’s just a lie, their making all the other people getting a bad reputation its discusting.
    I’m a year 11 pupil who came in yesterday, we had our normal timetable but when I had english we would have to go and do different work that’s because are teachers weren’t there. I understand why they protested but its so close to our real gcse’s they should of waited to get their point across because we lost out on hours yesterday which could of helped us.

  30. You have raised a very valid point about being so close to your exams that no one else has picked up on, and with 2 more strike days planned will be affected even more.

    Good luck with your studying & exams in spite of this action & all the negativity around the school. Not sure what you want to do in the future, but would just like to add my son left Castle Vale School a few years ago and if off to Uni in September. He is not the only one. Castle Vale still produces some brilliant, wonderful people who will make a huge success of their lives.

  31. As a resident in the community I believe the staff need help and, as the management won’t listen, they have had no alternative but to turn to the union. Some staff have been promoted into positions beyond their capabilities whilst effective staff have been overlooked or ‘demoted’. In the key subject areas staff are not prepared to lead or manage departments. Management believe discipline is not an issue and will not listen to staff who need support. As I stood alongsid those brave teachers yesterday I was distressed to learn that the majority were frightened to speak out for fear of reprisals.

  32. The man is not as good as you think believe me!!!

  33. As a former teacher at the school I am not surprised it has come to this. There are a large number of excellent pupils who wish to do well and also a large number of excellent teachers who give everything for these pupils.
    The biggest problem is the management who refuse to admit that behaviour is an issue. If this is the case how can teachers do their job? it is not a case of bad teaching, In my time at the school I spent much more time trying to control unruly pupils than teaching and when you inevitably had to pass issues to the management nothing ever happened. For example how is it that students brag about being excluded 15-20 times. Teachers want the best for pupils, it will never happen with the management in place at the school. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  34. It is very sad obviously that your English lesson was disrupted but you need to consider a couple of points.
    Firstly, the teachers aren’t saying all pupils behave in this way. THey are saying that they are not supported WHEN pupils behave in this way.

    Secondly, it has taken three years to get to this point. Three years. Meetings discussions, ballots etc… to reach an end to this situation WITHOUT strike action being taken. The head was put across by the media as saying he had tried to avoid strike action by holding lots of meetings with the union. The facts are (as said by the nas/uwt rep) that the union had called lots of meetings and had been ignored. Look at the bigger picture for a moment. It’s not just for the good of students who do exams in one year that action needs to be taken, it is for ALL pupils who go through the school and the teachers who teach them.

    Thirdly the teachers are not trying to bring down the reputations of the vale students far from it. If you go to the Vale and you are in year 11 I bet you can think of countless incidents of shocking behaviour that has disrupted your learning. The teachers are trying to bring in a system that allows this to happen all of the time.

    Fourthly, I know for a fact that any of your exam teachers will gladly give you free support and tuition after school. They have been doing so for months and months so i would suggest making the most of these opportunities. It might also be worth spending more time learning in your lessons instead of writing on forums like this? Surely 10.56.am is during lesson time?

  35. Sutton Coldfiel citizen

    There has been a long history of chav/yobbish behaviour at Castle Vale comp which we Suttonians have to put up with when these nice people decide to come shopping at the parade. In our schools not only are standards set by parents and staff they are also adhered to by hardworking pupils. Close the school and ship them all out to boot camps.

  36. Bigotry and bulls***

  37. What a stupid thing to say.

  38. Anoymous Year 9 pupil

    Before today I thought what the media had said was rubbish, but when in a mixed ability lesson today, another pupil decided to set a deodrant lid on fire, whilst the teacher was out. So now I agree with some of these comments, still you can’t go around sticking a label on the school as a whole. Only 2 or 3 people who have commented actually know what cv is like. Most kids are fine, its just a few kids don’t know right from wrong. Over the years at the school its become a refugee for excluded pupils, so there isn’t a way to get a rid of them.

  39. Sutton Coldfiel citizen

    The problem is lack of discipline and moral fibre, address this and the problem will be sorted.