Education news

Teachers and bosses meet to resolve `numerous issues'

De La Salle College in west Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell

Teaching unions are to hold a series of further meetings with education chiefs to resolve "numerous issues" at a west Belfast secondary school.

Initial talks took place this week in an effort to resolve a dispute that involved staff at De La Salle College undertaking a rolling sick day protest.

Unions, governors and Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) officers all came together to discuss recent events.

The first meeting, which lasted several hours, was held in the offices of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) on Wednesday night.

Most of the teachers at the 1,100-pupil school are INTO members, although there are small numbers in three other teaching unions.

It is understood unions have been handling numerous industrial relations issues at the school. Difficulties are understood to involve both teaching and non-teaching staff.

Events came to a head last week when up to 15 of the 75 teachers called in sick on four consecutive days.

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

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.

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.

In a statement, CCMS said: "The parties discussed a number of issues and agreed that further meetings involving these parties would be convened to consider a number of matters which were identified.

"All parties wish to assure the entire La Sallian family that the education of the boys at De La Salle will remain the priority in order to uphold the high standards for which De La Salle is renowned."

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

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