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Teachers, governors and unions in talks to resolve school dispute

SICK DAYS: De La Salle College in west Belfast Picture: Hugh Russell

Teaching unions, school governors and education chiefs met last night to resolve a dispute that involved staff undertaking a rolling sick day protest.

Up to 15 of the 75 teachers at De La Salle College in west Belfast called in sick on four separate days last week.

Last night's meeting, which lasted several hours, was said to be tense but constructive.

It is understood further meetings will be held.

Teachers are said to be concerned about an incident that took place last month and how it was subsequently handled.

On four consecutive days last week, between 10 and 15 staff took sick leave. It is understood that this involved different teachers phoning in sick on different days.

One group of teachers took two days' leave before returning to work, followed by a different group taking the next two days. Typically, short periods of sick leave of one or two days do not require a return to work interview.

There were not thought to be any widespread absences among non-teaching staff over the same period.

As part of the dispute, teachers also stood in silence outside their classrooms for a short period in a show of solidarity with a disciplined colleague.

It is understood there has been a normal level of attendance among teaching staff this week.

The meeting yesterday afternoon involved staff and governors, representatives of the four teaching unions and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS).

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