With teachers on strike again over the behaviour of pupils at a Kent school, we took to the streets to see what residents think.
It is the third day of protests at Oasis Academy on the Isle of Sheppey, with staff calling for better measures to be put in place after regular threats of violence.
National Education Union (NEU) members voted “by a significant margin” to continue the strikes today and yesterday (November 28).
Dozens of teachers were first on the picket line last Wednesday after fears for their safety.
They are asking for fixed exclusion tariffs of 10 days for assaults or threats of assaults against staff and pupils.
One teacher described how her colleagues face daily abuse including racial slurs and threats of violence, sexual assault and death.
“It is important that staff are safe but it is also important students are safe,” she said. “We have situations where hordes of children are running after one child to beat them up.
“We have had kids who have had eye sockets falling out of their head because there has been a mass brawl on one particular student.
“Those are the big things. The little things – constantly being called the c-word, constantly being told to f-off, constantly being told no.
“The kids are out in the corridors, they are refusing to come into classrooms.”
It is believed to be the first time in Kent that teachers have gone on strike over behavioural issues.
In Sheerness High Street, KentOnline asked locals what they thought about the protests and the school.
Our columnist Robert Barman attended what is now Oasis in the 1980s – click here to see what he thought of his time there
Abbie currently has a daughter in Year 6 and says she “did not even put Oasis down as an option”.
“When they took the test for the Westlands School in Sittingbourne, they had to organise an overflow hall because so many people want to go there,” she explained.
“Some parents even have said they will homeschool their children instead of sending them to Oasis.”
She added: “It is another black mark against the school. There is so much disruption. Nobody wants to go there. It is the reputation.”
Mum-of-two, Keah, went to Oasis Academy around 12 years ago and says not much has changed.
She said: “It was focused a lot on behaviour more than learning – I would not recommend it to anyone.
“My grades were lower down at the academy, I then went to SST (School of Science and Technology Maidstone) and they shot back up.
“People would call it a young juvie centre.”
Her two children, ages three and four, will “definitely not” follow in her footsteps.
“I will send him off the Island,” she said. “I know most schools off the Island were sending kids to the academy because they did not have any more space.
“It is one school I hope my children do not get into, to be honest.
“I think they all influence each other. The teachers are trying to do their job, but have to control behaviour at the same time. It is twice as hard.
“The kids influence each other and make each other as bad as one another.”
Another mum-of-two, Courtney, agreed. She also went to the school growing up.
“It was not great. It was a mix of both the teachers and the kids,” she added. “I think I will send them to Westlands. It just seems better than going to Oasis.
“I hope it gets better.”
Tina – a grandmother who lives on the Island – says her daughter, who went to Oasis, is now deliberating where to send her own child.
“She does not want to send her to Sittingbourne, but it is up to her really,” she explained. “You hear bad reports. I do feel for the teachers.
“My friend's granddaughter is a teacher and the things she says and has to put up with – it is not right and it is not fair.”
She added: “It has got bad though, hasn’t it? I think it is everywhere, not just on the island.
“We had respect when I was a child, you would respect your elders, not anymore.
“I bought my daughter up to have manners. If you did not say please and thank you – you did not get it, simple as.”
Negotiations involving the trust and the NEU are still ongoing and members are confident they are moving in the right direction.
Speaking to KentOnline on the picket line this morning (November 29), head of philosophy and ethics Austen Waite said he was striking for the safety of staff and students.
The 26-year-old, who has worked at the academy for three years, added: "I want to send a strong message towards Oasis Community Learning that it can do more to protect us, our safety and the safety of our pupils in the workplace.
"I have seen ups and I have seen downs. However, since we balloted for strike action I have not seen a significant improvement in behaviour.
"I have not personally been harassed but even as a strong teacher within the classroom, I have had my door kicked in by students.
"We have had threats of death towards members in our union, we have had sexual harassment, we have had bullying towards members, and that has been something we feel needs to be dealt with more effectively.
"The reason why I am here is because I love these children, and I have a real affection for this Island and this community.
“I am not from here originally but I am here and I have not taken a job down the road at an easier school because these children deserve a great education.
"The majority are amazing. What we are talking about is a small minority who threaten the safety of our staff and students and that is what we need to sort out if we want a great education for children on this Island.”
Regional secretary for NEU Southeast, Maria Fawcett, joined members at the Sheerness campus and said behaviour had got worse since the strikes last week.
She added: “Following negotiations on Friday, it was the behaviour of students that our members could not believe. After all that progress in negotiations, the behaviour was so dreadful.
“I think the reps thought members might vote to call off the action but it was so dreadful here on Monday members were resolute in wanting to go ahead.”
As staff waved banners outside the Sheerness campus, they were met with support from motorists driving past who beeped, honked, waved and gave thumbs up.
Further days of strike action are scheduled for next week on December 5, 6 and 7.
What do you think about the protests? Comment down below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.