TEACHERS are threatening industrial action at more than 20 Sheffield schools in protest against alleged bullying and excessive workloads imposed by senior staff.
Officers from the National Union of Teachers have written to the city’s education chief Dr Sonia Sharp, calling on the authority to intervene.
And they are hoping to join forces with another teaching union, the NASUWT, to take action against what they call a “culture of fear” and “insane pressures” in some schools.
Schools causing special concern to the NUT include The City School at Stradbroke and Heritage Park Special School at Norfolk Park.
Investigations into problems at a number of other schools – including Emmanuel and Anns Grove primaries – are still at an early stage.
The issue of stress on teachers has moved up the NUT’s agenda after trouble erupted at two Sheffield schools last year.
Staff at Westfield Sports College at Beighton accused their headteacher of bullying and intimidation, proposing a motion of no confidence. She has since left the school.
Then teachers at Darnall’s Greenlands Infants were thrown into crisis last term after a staff member was wrongly accused of assaulting a pupil.
Toby Mallinson, joint divisional secretary for Sheffield NUT, said there was growing concern over a more confrontational culture developing.
“It is not all down to the heads – there is huge pressure on them, too, and that comes from the very top, the Government,” he said.
“It is always about next year’s results – it all contributes to widescale turnovers of staff which are highly damaging to children’s education.
“Too many teachers are also being made ill and forced out of jobs they once loved because of the oppressive regimes at many of our schools.”
The NASUWT is also taking action on the issue of workloads and has proposed industrial action short of a strike at schools causing concern.
Dr Sharp, the council’s executive director for children, young people and families, said: “We have a long history of working positively with the unions and hold regular meetings with them to address any concerns they may have.
“The issues raised in their letter are best addressed through the strong and rigorous processes we already have in place.
“Like the schools, our priority is the city’s children. We recognise headteachers often have a difficult job to do in sometimes complex situations and they do have to take it seriously.
“Some things do need to change as it is important for schools to deliver good results for children and parents.
“Therefore we encourage an approach of respect and co-operation from all involved – parents, pupils or teachers – to try to resolve any difficulties.”