Edinburgh council officials meet with union bosses over Kaimes school violence

Several teachers at Kaimes Special School have been barred from the classroom and had their pay stopped, after refusing to teach pupils they believe pose a risk to their safety.
Several teachers at Kaimes Special School have been barred from the classroom and had their pay stopped, after refusing to teach pupils they believe pose a risk to their safety.
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Council officials have sat down with union bosses to try and resolve 11 teachers refusing to look after eight pupils at a special school.

The city council sent home the 11 staff members from Kaimes School, who are all members of the NASUWT union, last week without pay after they said they wouldn’t teach the specific pupils over fears for their safety. An independent mediator will try and help both parties resolve the issues next week.

READ MORE: Showdown between unions and officials over Kaimes school violence

The union claimed the pupils are not being taught by staff brought in to replace the absentees – but the council said this was not the case.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “We met with senior officials of Edinburgh Council today (6). Regrettably the council would not agree to our suggestion of temporary operational arrangement to enable our members to return to work, pending further discussions.

“Given that the staff who have been brought in to cover our members are not teaching the eight pupils causing particular concern we cannot understand why the same arrangements cannot be made for our members, on a without prejudice basis.”

She added: “Parents will no doubt share our frustration that the majority of pupils could have resumed their normal timetable with teachers with whom they have built a relationship.

“An agreement was reached to meet next week with an independent chair to seek to resolve the dispute.”

The council is calling for the issues to be resolved.

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesman said: “We had a constructive meeting with the NASUWT union today and it was agreed there would be further detailed discussions overseen by an independent chair next week.

“We welcome the union’s willingness to meet again as we wish to resolve the situation at the earliest opportunity so the teachers can return to normal working arrangements.

“The health, safety and well-being of our staff and the children is of paramount importance to us. Our improvement plan is being implemented and the teaching arrangements we have put in place to ensure the learning needs of all the disabled pupils at the school are working well.”