Education news

De La Salle: Teachers told 'consider your positions'

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

GOVERNORS at troubled De La Salle College have written to all teachers suggesting they consider their position if they cannot commit to helping the school improve.

Chairman Monica Culbert said she was responding to an earlier letter signed by 28 staff which, she claimed, was critical of inspectors as well as the acting principal and vice principal.

An inspection report published this week found that staff at the west Belfast college were absent for an average of almost 40 days. This is almost five times the average rate for post-primary schools.

The school now needs external support to improve after it received the lowest inspection grading. Inspectors also raised concerns about achievements and standards and leadership and management.

In her letter, Ms Culbert said governors had confidence in the objectivity and integrity of the inspection process and would accept its findings.

The board of governors, she added, considered as totally unacceptable, comments made regarding the acting principal and vice principal.

She claimed the letter from teachers suggested "there may be a resistance to improvements by a small group of staff who consider they have no obligation or responsibility for the difficulties the school has encountered and continue to obstruct the board of governors in its determination to implement new practices and procedures for the benefit of the whole school community".

"It is abundantly evident that anyone with a post of responsibility in the management structure who has signed this correspondence is, by implication, criticising themselves.

"If anyone either in a leadership and management role feels they do not have the qualities or commitment necessary to professionally address the obvious deficiencies in the school they should carefully consider their position as should any teacher who considers that they cannot commit to the school development planning process and any other inspection plans emanating from the inspection process."

A concerned parents committee last night said it was now responding to requests that there should be "serious consideration by all parents given to an all-out boycott of the school all day on Thursday and Friday of this week".

"In addition, on Friday we are pleading with all parents, pupils, friends, relatives, community members, clergy, teachers, support staff, past pupils, MLAs and the local MP to meet at the gates of the school on Friday the 13th January from 12-1pm," the group said.

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