Socialist Worker

Striking against academies

Issue No. 2101

Strikers at Withins school

Strikers at Withins school


It is now official. Any proposal by an employer to transfer staff to a new employer can be the subject of a trade dispute and strike action.

That’s the message coming out of Bolton after last week’s strike at Withins School.

The picket line saw an absolutely solid turnout from NUT teachers’ union members at the school, and delegations of teachers from other schools, trade unionists and pupils and parents.

Vickie Marsh has three children at the school. She said, “I went to this school and my children go there now. It should stay as a comprehensive school. All children should get the same education.”

A survey run by the local paper showed 77 percent support for the strike.

Unison union members have called their officials in for next week to make plans to join the action, and a joint union meeting will also be held.

This strike is very important and shows that it is possible to take strike action to challenge the consequences of the government’s academy programme – and, by implication, every other attempt to change an employer’s identity.

For trade union activists, socialists, Labour Party dissidents, parents, and furious educationalists, things can suddenly seem a little rosier.

But to ease off now and rest on our laurels would be wrong. It is crucial to keep up the momentum with further action.

Barry Conway, Bolton NUT divisional secretary (pc)
Send messages of support to Phil Roberts, on droberts36@yahoo.com


Teachers at Sinfin community school in Derby have voted by a massive 96 percent to strike against plans to turn the school into an academy.

The strike by members of the NASUWT union is due to take place on Wednesday of next week, and is likely to close the school.

Dave Wilkinson, branch secretary of Derby NUT union, told Socialist Worker, “The council plans to turn the school into an academy in September next year, so we’re starting the campaign to stop them early.

“All the unions in education are opposed to academies, and all have put in objections to the council. When the NUT struck last month, NASUWT members here refused to cross their picket lines. We’re hoping that the NUT will join the action next week.

“We’re able to take this action because of a motion passed at this year’s NASUWT conference which backed action against academies.”


Campaigners in north London have used the Freedom of Information Act to find the land value of a school being converted into an academy.

Islington Green school is worth £14.8 million, but Islington council plans to hand it to sponsors for just £2 million spread over ten years.


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Tue 13 May 2008, 19:09 BST
Issue No. 2101
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