Oldham protest against academies
Over 100 parents, children, teachers and local residents held a lively and noisy protest at the planned site for one of three proposed city academies in Oldham in Lancashire on Wednesday of last week.
The planned academy is in Waterhead, outside of Oldham centre on a busy main road.
Local resident Ken Sharp said, “This will be dangerous for school students. There has been no consultation – only an offer of a ‘drop in’ on a one-to-one basis.”
Deborah Brooks, a local parent, is concerned about the size of the new school – between 1,500 and 2,000 pupils. “It’s just too many – the numbers won’t work,” she said.
A lobby of councillors at the civic centre in Oldham is planned for Wednesday of this week.
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A lively demonstration took place in Bolton on Tuesday of last week, following a one-day strike by members of the NUT teachers’ union at Withins School over plans to transform it into an academy.
NASUWT and Unison union members joined the strikers at the school gates in a combined protest – timed to coincide with a visit from the sponsors of the academy scheme.
The protest was supported by the Anti-Academies Alliance and delegations of trade unionists from Rochdale, Wigan, Bolton and other parts of the north west of England. Activists plan to follow the protest with joint union meetings in the school.
The chants and posters gave a clear message to the visiting sponsors and school governors. “Our school is not for sale” chants rang out.
Over 50 workers from the NUT, NASUWT, Unison and Unite unions attended a lunchtime meeting at the school the following day.
Local Unison reps explained their position on academies, pointing out the very real dangers to the terms and conditions of employees if they are transferred to a private employer.
Phil Roberts, the NUT representative, asked the other trade unions to take similar action to the NUT.
Lady Margaret school
Some 23 members of the NUT union at Lady Margaret primary school in Southall, west London, were set to strike on Wednesday of this week.
The action is in response to increased assessment workload, unreasonable performance management targets and a planned reduction of teaching and learning responsibility posts.
Owen Gallagher, an NUT rep at the school, spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity. “The head has imposed a new assessment scheme which is creating extra work for teachers, on top of an already heavy workload.” he said.
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