Socialist Worker

Well-supported strike at The Cumberland School in Newham says no to academies

by Miriam Scharf
Issue No. 2586

Pickets and supporters gathered at The Cumberland School in Newham on Tuesday

Pickets and supporters gathered at The Cumberland School in Newham on Tuesday (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The first strike at The Cumberland School in Newham, east London, against academisation saw over 50 NEU education union members picketing on Tuesday.

NEU rep Carolyn McGrath said, “The union group has gone from strength to strength.

“It’s not only about the numbers—with now over 105 balloted—but in confidence that what we are doing is the right thing.

“We are protecting not only staff pay and conditions but also defending the education of pupils.

“Our strike is part of a growing number in Newham where the fight against academisation is making a significant impact.

“We want other schools under threat to start resisting the plans to hand over local authority schools to unaccountable trustees who have other interests than the education of our children.”

The picket was supported by the national union (NUT section of NEU). Executive member Dominic Byrne pointed out that Labour boroughs should not be going down this road.

Teaching assistant (TA) Sandra said, “We need to stand together. Many of us joined the NEU so we could be one unit working together.

“We hear TAs are being cut first. It’s so important teachers and TAs stuck together.”

Parents from Cumberland and from a local feeder primary spoke passionately about keeping our schools within the local authority.

A growing number of Newham schools are also set to take action, escalating to more than one day, and heading for a joint strike day, march and rally.

Messages of support for the Newham strikers to assistant.secretary.nta@gmail.com

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