Crisis meeting called for Foremost School

NADV 1209036AM1 Foremost School. (1209036AM1)
NADV 1209036AM1 Foremost School. (1209036AM1)

Staff and unions begin talks today about security concerns at Foremost School for behavioural difficulties.

Staff concerns about safety and management at troubled Foremost School are to be discussed at a meeting with North Yorkshire County Council on Thursday, January 10.

Concerns have been raised about security at the £12million school for boys with behavioural difficulties housed in a former naval site at Forest Moor.

National Union of Teachers (NUT) North Yorkshire secretary, Paul Busby said: “This is not about failing teachers, this is about a failing building.”

Three members of teaching staff, including the former head teacher and five governors have resigned from the school which opened in February 2012.

It is reported pupils have found ways to escape the building and classrooms. Mr Busby said: “It is hard for the staff to create the stable working environment these boys need when they are able to remove themselves from the classrooms.

“Staff were promised that the building issues would be resolved over the October half term, however not all of the work has been completed.”

North Yorkshire County Council said: “We have been aware from the earliest stage that Foremost has had a very challenging year.

“Moving students with complex difficulties of this nature into a new school is never easy.”

The NUT has called for changes to the management style. Mr Busby said: “We need to avoid the culture of finger pointing and blaming staff.

“The staff need supportive management so that they can get on and do their jobs well.”

North Yorkshire County Council has taken control of the management of the school, a spokesperson said: “The local authority has taken over delegated responsibility for the leadership and governance of Foremost because it had serious concerns about both.”

The NUT said it hopes the talks will be constructive and their members want to work with the local authority to make the establishment a success.

A spokesperson for Unison acknowledged there were issues but declined to comment.