Socialist Worker

School bullied into academy status

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2291

Governors at a north London primary school say they have been bullied into accepting academy status.

Tory education secretary Michael Gove wants to impose academy status on four schools in Haringey—Coleraine, Downhills, Nightingale and Noel Park.

Governors at Noel Park and Coleraine reluctantly accepted the plans earlier this month. But there is still enormous opposition.

Governors at Coleraine said they felt Gove had treated them with “contempt”. They said in a statement, “The governing body believe this whole process is a farce and leaves many feeling ignored and belittled.

“Coleraine’s governors feel that the secretary of state has disempowered them without due regard for their role and has in fact bullied them into a decision in a way that nobody wants.”

David Cohen, a parent governor at Noel Park, said parents feel “disenfranchised and patronised”.

Teachers and parents remain determined to fight.

Challenge

Some activists in the NUT union are arguing for strike ballots in the schools to challenge the forced change of employer that academy status would bring.

Campaigners also plan to organise a conference on education in the borough.

Jane Coxon, an NUT rep at Downhills school, told Socialist Worker, “A day doesn’t go by without Gove attacking and insulting teachers.

“He is a bully. We don’t tolerate bullies in the playground so why should we tolerate it from him?”

Phil Brett is also an

NUT rep at Downhills school. “Governors at Downhills school have overwhelmingly rejected plans to force the school to become an academy,” he said.

“Teachers here are committed to calling for a strike ballot if Gove tries to force academy status on us. There is a clear mood to defy Gove and escalate the campaign.”

Terry Sullivan, a parent and teacher in Haringey, added, “We’re in a very strong position. In some places governors back academies, yet in Haringey no one is happy with them.”

Campaigners have the power to beat Gove—and give confidence to people everywhere to do the same.


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Tue 21 Feb 2012, 18:24 GMT
Issue No. 2291
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