A headteacher's union has warned that pupils who take part in protests at school - which are said to be inspired by videos shared on TikTok - are likely to face disciplinary action.

Students have posted “abusive” material online about staff and displayed “disorderly behaviour” during school protests, Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said.

The union claims it has received “a number of reports” about student protests taking place at schools across the country over the past week and a half.

Most of these protests seem to relate to rules about school uniforms or toilet use.

Mr Barton: “This appears to have spread through students posting material on TikTok leading to copycat protests at other schools.

Basingstoke Gazette: Geoff Barton has described the protests as 'deeply distressing' to those who are being targetedGeoff Barton has described the protests as 'deeply distressing' to those who are being targeted (Image: Press Association)

“Staging protests in schools is extremely disruptive and the last thing that schools need when they are already under huge pressure in terms of time and resources.

“Students should raise any concerns they may have through normal and established channels such as student representative bodies or talking to their class teacher.

“They should not participate in protests and they need to be aware that doing so is very likely to result in disciplinary action.”

What action is being taken?

When asked about the online posts, Mr Barton said: “The abusive material reported to us includes highly offensive and totally unfounded allegations being made against members of staff.

“We don’t want to go into too much detail for fear that this will in itself lead to copycat incidents.

“Suffice to say it is deeply distressing to those being targeted, and utterly unacceptable.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We are concerned at the reports of disruption and will be in touch with all schools and local authorities to ensure they are supported at this time.

“We will always back headteachers to take the action required to maintain calm and supportive classroom environments as they are best placed to work with their teachers, parents, pupils and local communities when developing and implementing policies.”

Meanwhile, TikTok has safety teams closely monitoring the content to ensure it complies with its community guidelines, according to a spokesperson.

Any content found to violate its community guidelines – such as content which depicts violence or aggression, or harassment and bullying – will be removed.