NUT anti-recognition campaign transforms into anti-academy community action


The campaign to stop a Gloucestershire school becoming an academy has snowballed, with a public meeting being called this evening by concerned parents and students.

Whitecross School in Lydney hit the headlines when UnionNews revealed the company proposing to run the academy, Prospects Group, had threatened to freeze out trade unions.

Following an intervention by the NUT, the group met with unions and, UnionNews understands, is poised to sign a recognition deal.

In the meantime, the NUT campaign ignited interest within the local community, which is now steeling itself to stop the school becoming an academy.

Parent groups set up three stalls in Lydney on Saturday, handing out literature to shoppers, and a Facebook page – Anti Whitecross Academy – has been set up.

Campaigner Georgia Parker wrote on the Facebook page: “Whitecross School has been an incredibly encouraging and welcoming school, always for the students. We are afraid that it becoming an academy will remove this great quality, and that the students and parents will have no say in how the school is run.

“The academy will be able to pick and choose students as they please, with their own admissions policies, they can change the curriculum as they wish, and are free from our local authorities oversight. We will have no control and say in how our children are being educated.

“We need people power to enable our voices heard, so please give back what Whitecross School has given to you.”

NUT senior organiser Hannah Packham said: “The impact of competition, the lack of local accountability and the false argument that academies out perform locally maintained schools are just some of the counter arguments parents and the local public have a right to hear. It is fantastic to see the local community coming together to ensure the conversion of Whitecross school to an academy is properly discussed, and to demand that their views are listened to.

The coalition talk about localism, well we are witnessing the local community in action. It is essential that parents should have say rather than following a dictat from the Department of Education.”

There is a public meeting being held at 6.30pm tonight at Lydney Cricket Club.

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