Socialist Worker

Calls for strike ballot over school privatisation plan

by SARA TOMLINSON, joint secretary Lambeth NUT (personal capacity)
Issue No. 1928

MEMBERS OF all the unions at Glenbrook Primary School in Lambeth, south London, have voted unanimously for a ballot for strike action against plans to turn it into a city academy for five to 19 year olds.

City academies are a form of privatisation where the school has the status of a private school but receives public money.

The GMB union steward and myself, the NUT union rep, called a joint union meeting to discuss the proposal, which we have known about since July.

The council approved it in late September, but since then there has been a growing campaign against it.

Parents and carers have formed a group to organise campaigning. Governors have voted unanimously against the plans.

Our joint union meeting was attended by 38 members of staff from five support and teacher trade unions.

Speakers from the GMB, the NUT and Unison addressed the meeting, and a representative from the ATL teaching union attended later. We also received messages of support from NUT associations and branches across the country and from Lambeth schools.

Lambeth has a huge problem due to a lack of secondary school places. In the last ten years over ten school sites were sold off and mostly converted into luxury flats.

Our meeting discussed the prospect of working for an academy, and the disruption to children and staff during the rebuild.

Nearly £500,000 has just been spent on renovating the school. This would be bulldozed if a new school went ahead.

The preliminary study suggested the primary school could have a playground on the roof and proposed playing fields a quarter of a mile away for PE lessons. Our nursery would cease to exist.

After our vote for a strike ballot we are getting together with parents to make sure this plan is dropped before it can damage our school and our children any further.

For more information or to send messages of support for the campaign please e-mail [email protected]

Waltham Forest

PARENTS, TRADE unionists and pupils held a lively lobby of governors at McEntee School in Waltham Forest, east London, last week against its closure.

Governors were expecting to have a meeting with Jasper Conran, the international fashion designer and hopeful £2 million sponsor of a new city academy should McEntee close. But he did not turn up.

Governors who spoke to parents at the school gate made it clear that they had changed their minds about the wisdom of closing McEntee—especially since it was announced to parents that the sponsors had not actually wanted any McEntee students in the academy.

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Sat 20 Nov 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1928
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