Darwen Vale High School headteacher Hilary Torpey was described as a ‘good’ leader by Ofsted following an inspection of her last school.

But unions on Merseyside said staff at Mrs Torpey’s former school, Glenburn Sports College in Skelmersdale, were in support of the action taken by members at Darwen Vale.

On Thursday more than 60 National Union of Teachers, NUT, and NASUWT staff members staged a one-day strike, claiming management had failed to back them up when dealing with a minority of unruly pupils.

They resorted to the action after claiming management failed to deal with their concerns when they first came to light before Christmas.

And that the complaints of pupils were put before the concerns of members of the teaching staff by the headteacher.

A union spokesperson from Skelmersdale said there had been similar complaints at Glenburn. He said members had sent messages of support to the Darwen staff.

The spokesman said: “The behaviour policy was dismantled and the children were always right.

“I have received messages of support for the action at Darwen Vale High School.”

According to the Glenburn’s last Ofsted inspection the sports college was said to be satisfactory with some good features in December 2009 under Mrs Torpey’s control.

And in that report inspectors said: “The headteacher provides strong and purposeful leadership based on improving the life chances of students through improved achievement.

“With the assistance of the senior leadership team and some effective middle managers, she is gradually bringing about positive change, but the pace has been slow due to a number of factors, including significant staffing and recruitment difficulties.” However, prior to this inspection, while she was in charge, Glenburn Sports College was graded as inadequate and was given notice to improve.

It had previously been grade three or satisfactory school in May 2006 under a different headteacher.