Two Coventry schools struck against academies on Friday of last week. Some 70 teachers in the NUT and NASUWT unions were involved in the strike at Tile Hill Wood School – a huge majority – with a further 30 NUT members striking at Woodlands School.
The vast majority of teachers in other unions are opposed to plans for academies and would like their unions to ballot for action.
A third school in the city is currently balloting. Our original strike of just 16 NUT members in Tile Hill Wood School has given given people the courage to build a city-wide fight.
The atmosphere on the two picket lines was fantastic. Both sets of striking teachers met for a rally. National union officials spoke along with a speaker from the Anti Academies Alliance.
Members left feeling encouraged in our campaign and contributed many great ideas about how to take the campaign forward. We are holding a city wide parents meeting on Wednesday of next week and also holding city centre anti-academy events.
Members do not want to be striking – but have been forced into it by a lack of consultation.
Our attempts to engage in full consultation have been constantly refused. We were refused permission to take part in writing the information leaflets to parents, refused permission to send any information to parents, refused permission to speak at the parents meeting and for a long time refused permission to present to a whole governors meeting.
We have been constantly refused requests for a staff ballot so that the school could find out how it's staff feel.
We are seriously worried for the education system in Coventry. Our comprehensive system has served the city well for decades.
The schools are run by and for the community, they belong to us all. The school governors are trying to take them into private hands. It is part of the government's attack on everything we hold dear.
Unless we stand up to the Tories, in five years time there could be no comprehensive state education system, no National Health Service and state benefits will be ripped apart.
The state institutions that we cherish the most are being carved up by this government and given over to private hands.
We must say no! We must strike to save our pensions! We must strike to save our NHS! We must strike to save our schools!