St Catherine's Catholic School in Bexley has come up against criticism after 33 teachers went on strike last week.

On October 30 teachers went on strike after claims of bullying from the headteacher.

A number of people have been in touch with News Shopper to ask whether the school is now taking into account Year 11 mock GCSE's.

A spokesperson from the school told News Shopper said: “Our number one priority as a school is to provide our students with the highest quality education possible, whilst ensuring their safety, security and wellbeing.

“The school Governors have a moral and legal duty of care to our students, and it is therefore incredibly important that any serious allegation is robustly investigated and that staff accept and respect this process. As the independent investigation is confidential and still ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further on the specific matters of these cases.

“Despite meeting with the National Education Union at ACAS last week, and our repeated requests for them to put our student’s education and wellbeing first, we are deeply disappointed that the Union has refused to call off the proposed strike action."

However, the National Education Union has hit back.

A spokesperson said: "We met with the school leadership at ACAS before the first day of strike action. They were not prepared to move towards a satisfactory resolution of our key concerns.

"Pupils are the most important group in our school. We work for them. We cannot, therefore, stand by and allow the current culture of fear to dominate the school that they learn in every day."

The NEU said that they have sought to resolve the concerns with the school leadership in private, without any publicity, since April 2019.

They said: "Requests for meetings have been turned down. Correspondence from the NEU to the Chair of Governors is frequently not acknowledged.

The NEU do not believe that they have been heard in good faith.

Of the 120 staff listed on the school website as being employed at St Catherine’s, just 62 are main scale teachers.

Of those 62 teachers, 49 are members of the NEU, and so only these teachers are allowed to participate in NEU strike action.

Of the 16 NEU main scale teacher members who did not strike, some work part-time, and would not, in any case, have worked on Wednesday; others are on leave and were not available for work or strike action.

The vote to strike by NEU members was overwhelming, with 55 of 58 members who voted voting in favour of strike action in a formal postal ballot.

Mrs Connolly said in a letter to parents that the adults on the picket line made it very difficult at times for students on their way in through the school gates.

The NEU respond: "At no point did staff last week prevent pupils from entering the school site. At no point were the pavements or gates blocked by staff.

"We are shocked that Mrs Connolly seeks to portray striking staff as posing a danger to pupils as they entered the school site. Every day in term time, school staff, including senior leaders, are on duty outside the school gates. On the strike day, not a single member of non-striking staff, who reported for paid work, came out of the site to ensure pupils entered safely."

The spokeswoman from St Catherine's continue: "We have therefore taken the precautionary decision, for the safety and best interests of our students, to only open the school for Year 11 students on the two proposed dates this week, so that they can prepare for their upcoming examinations. We will be doing all we can in the meantime to compensate and minimise the disruption to learning for all other students."