DE La Salle School in Andersonstown has hit the headlines for the fourth time this year. On Monday 19th October, the school was evacuated after a threatening voicemail was left on the answer machine just before 9am. The police searched the area and found nothing untoward.
The BBC reported on Friday that in one day, a third of the workforce rang in sick to work. Morale at the school has been very low because of an incident that occurred before the Halloween break.
The incident surrounds a female member of staff and a pupil. The staff member alleged the pupil assaulted her and the pupil alleged she assaulted him. My source at the school said the colleague was ‘frog marched’ out of the school grounds by the Principal during the security alert. The source said that policies and procedures were not being carried out appropriately and that staff didn’t feel supported by management.
The areas of concern are child protection and health and safety.
On one occasion, it is alleged that the teacher to pupil ratio was breached when one teacher had to teach five class loads of pupils for one lesson with the aid of only two assistants.
Many staff do not agree with the way incidents are being handled and have written a letter to the Principal stating their reasons why. The teachers were told they were having a teacher training day during the mid term break. Instead the Principal and the new Chair of Board of Governers who was nominated by Sinn Fein told them to reconsider their actions or the PSNI would be informed.
Some staff conducted a silent ‘mini strike’ outside the classrooms for a matter of minutes in protest at the way the school was being run. It has since been revealed that some teachers homes have been visited by the police.
In May, a swastika flag was hoisted in the school grounds and was described by the local MP as a ‘leaving day prank’, De La Salle’s position on the Northern Ireland league tables have shown a decline in both GCSE and A Level results over the past two years. 2013 league tables for West Belfast 2014 league tables for West Belfast