Socialist Worker

Striking out against school privatisations

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2131

Teachers in the NUT union at the Royal Docks school in Newham, east London, are set to strike on Wednesday of this week against proposals to transform the school into an academy.

The strike will involve around 50 teachers who voted unanimously for industrial action on a turnout of 50 percent.

The ballot asked them whether they were prepared to take sustained and discontinuous strike action “against the threatened transfer of your employment to a new employer as a result of the proposed closure of your school”.

Newham’s council and mayor approved its academy plans last month, promoting it as a means of “improving standards”. If the Royal Docks academy goes ahead, it would be the first in the borough.

Campaigners formed Newham Anti-Academies Alliance in October to block the council’s plans. It is chaired by Keith Turner, an NUT rep at the threatened school.

Meanwhile the NUT in Croydon plans to ballot around 150 teachers across seven schools for strike action over plans to privatise schools.

Ashburton Infants, Ashburton Juniors, Westwood Language College, Haling Manor High, Addington High, Selsdon High and Ashburton Community schools are all at risk of being sold off as part of the council’s secondary school review.

Some would be merged and turned into academies, while others would be transformed into trust schools.

In every case, democratic control of the schools would be lost. The ballot begins on Friday of this week and will run into the new year.

School governors, parents groups and trade unionists in the Croydon area have come together to organise a lively campaign against the plans.

They are holding mass lobbies of the council and meetings for parents in the affected schools.

Despite widespread opposition, the council reaffirmed its plans at the end of last month and is refusing to give parents a ballot on the question.

Dave Harvey, secretary of Croydon NUT, said, “Should the crazy idea of selling off the entire secondary school council provision into private hands still be Croydon policy in the new year, we will be left with no alternative but to take strike action some time in late January or early February.”

The campaign against academies is gathering strength elsewhere in the country.

Last week headteachers from nine schools in Preston, Lancashire, wrote to parents over plans to replace Fullwood School with an academy.

They argued that the academy proposals would increase educational inequality.

Messages of support for the Royal Docks school strikers in Newham should be emailed to Keith Turner at keith.turner18@btinternet.com


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Tue 9 Dec 2008, 18:04 GMT
Issue No. 2131
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