Socialist Worker

Parents, children and teachers united against academies

by Miriam Scharf
Issue No. 2583

parents and children joined teachers on the Avenue School picket line

parents and children joined teachers on the Avenue School picket line (Pic: Newham Teachers' Association)


The first strike day against academisation at Avenue School in Newham, east London, took place on Wednesday of last week.

Over 50 people were on strike and the NEU union members were joined on the picket by large numbers of parents and children.

Joint NEU general secretary Kevin Courtney was there to hear women and children lead the lively chanting.

Avenue has a second strike planned for 14 December.

A campaign by the union and by the most amazing parents’ groups has injected life into school union groups.

Parents’ determination—holding meetings, lobbying governors, leafletting the area and signing petitions— has fed the will of union members to fight back.

In Newham 25 schools have already become part of Multi-Academy Trusts (Mats).

The majority are still under council control and the battle is on to keep them there.

The council, while it has pretended neutrality, has in fact joined the Department for Education, the Regional Schools Commissioners and private consultants in pushing an aggressive academising agenda this term.

Royal Docks Community School had to fight off academisation years ago and are doing so again. Its first strike will be on 13 December.

Workers in another secondary school, Cumberland, are awaiting the result of a ballot for industrial action.

Their union group has swelled from around

50 to 98 since deciding to resist becoming an academy.The aim of our rejuvenated union is to organise in other schools, pre-empting the take-over by the ambitious CEOs of Mats, and to spread action across the borough.

Messages of solidarity for all three schools to assistant.secretary.nta@gmail.com

School strikers at Charlton Park Academy are sick of penny-pinching bosses
 
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A sick victory in Greenwich

Workers at Charlton Park Academy in Greenwich, south east London, have beaten back an attack on their sick pay after strikes.

NEU and GMB union members have secured nationally agreed conditions for all staff.


A fight over workload at Westway

NEU union members at a school in Sheffield have called four days of strikes over workload and other issues.

Teachers at Westways Primary School in Crookes planned to strike on Wednesday and Thursday of this week and on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

They say a new executive head teacher has brought in negative changes to policy, workload and management practices.

The union said the changes include a shorter playtime for early years children and Sats-style tests every half term in years three to five.

Simon Murch is a primary school teacher and joint division secretary of Sheffield NEU. He told Socialist Worker, “It is so important that NEU members in Sheffield and further afield support the action at Westways.

“Teachers and support staff are preparing to strike against increased workload, but also to protect the child-centred learning that parents value so highly.

“Schools should not be exam factories and children are more than a score.”

Sign the petition to support the strikers at bit.ly/2i4lpI0

Strike vote in Brent

Teachers at The Village School in Brent, north west London, have voted for strikes before Christmas unless a plan for the school to become part of a Multi-Academy Trust is withdrawn.

Lesley Gouldbourne, secretary of the NEU NUT section in Brent, said the academy programme is a “corrupt shambles”.

Messages of support to hank.roberts@neu.org.uk

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