Campaigners say governors refuse to rescind academy application, despite opposition from teachers, parents, councillors and local MP


NUT members in east London are beginning the second of six days of strike action against plans to turn their school into a privately-run academy.

(Pictured: teachers at Connaught School for Girls have already taken 4 days of strike action this term. Image courtesy of Waltham Forest Anti Academies Campaign)

Campaigners say the school governors have refused to rescind an application for academy status, despite opposition to conversion from the teachers, parents, the local MP and councillors.

Speaking to UnionNews from the picket line this morning, Waltham Forest NUT secretary Steve White said: “You’ve got a unique situation here, where everyone’s opposed to the plan and yet the governing body still voted for it.

“The strike is absolutely solid. Our people are really galvanised around the issue and confidence is growing that we can defeat this.”

Since a meeting of the Leytonstone school’s governing body voted by 8 to 6 in October to opt out of local authority control and pursue academy status, there have been three weeks of strike action, which was suspended to allow conciliation talks to take place.

However, a revised formula for governance of the school under academy status was overwhelmingly rejected by NUT members.

Seven schools across the east London borough are either privately-run academies or are considering conversion.

Nationally, the NUT is opposed to the spread of academies and in particular to the Coalition government’s ‘forced academies’ policy.

The union says academies have a damaging impact on children teachers and the whole community.

It says ‘academisation’ on the scale proposed by ministers would have the effect of transferring billions of pounds worth of publicly-funded assets in the form of buildings and land into the hands of private sponsors.

Critics of the Connaught School plan argue that the school will lose out financially as an academy because it will not qualify for a range of cross-subsidy grants from other local authority departments.

The school’s governing body is due to meet in two week’s time.

Campaigners believe opinion among the governors is moving in their favour, but NUT officials say they will consider further action beyond the Christmas holidays if necessary to resist the proposed change in the school’s status.

Two 48-hour strikes are already scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday next week (5, 6 December) and two days on the following week (11, 13 December).

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