Anti Academies Alliance campaigners from around the country were out canvassing parents in Sheffield last Saturday, arguing for a no vote in a council ballot over whether Parkwood School should become an academy.
This is the first time that parents have been given a chance to vote over academy plans. Parents at Parkwood School and its feeder primary schools are being balloted.
Despite the hype from glossy leaflets – and a personal appeal from local Labour MP David Blunkett to support the academy – many parents were deeply sceptical about the plans.
One commented, “I thought there must be something wrong with it because they’re selling it so hard.”
Many parents are angry that the government is threatening to withhold £15 million for the new school if they opt against an academy.
A successful no vote will be an important milestone for the national campaign against academies.
No votes would halt their expansion in the city and give confidence to campaigners elsewhere to demand ballots.
Ben Morris, Sheffield NUT executive (pc)
Further strikes against academies in Bolton are now planned with action set for this Wednesday by NUT members at Withins School followed by further action on 21 October.
NUT members at Hayward School have also called for further action on 21 October.
In the meantime an announcement of another academy in Bolton has been received with anger from NUT members in Harper Green School.
A 40-strong meeting unanimously decided to send a message to governors stating their “resolute opposition” to the move.
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South Leeds High School
Over 200 people rejected plans to transform South Leeds High School into an academy at a consultation meeting last week.
The school has £1.3 million worth of debt – which the council has said it will write-off only if the school is transformed into an academy.
Students, parents and teachers spoke against the academy plans at the meeting and many are now demanding a ballot.
A vote at the end of the meeting saw only two people voting in favour of the academy.
The consultation period ends on 17 October.
Ellesmere Port Specialist School of Performing Arts and Cheshire Oaks High School
Cheshire county council plans to close two secondary schools, Ellesmere Port Specialist School of Performing Arts (EPSSPA) and Cheshire Oaks High School, and replace them with an academy.
But meetings this week showed overwhelming opposition to the plan.
Workers at EPSSPA voted against the school becoming an academy on Wednesday of last week – with 33 against, 19 for and five abstentions.
Governors at EPSSPA met the same evening and discussed the question, “Do governors support the intent to explore the feasibility of establishing an academy?” Eight voted against, four voted for and one abstained.