Socialist Worker

Avenue School strike in Newham opposes academy

by Miriam Scharf
Issue No. 2590

Determination on the Avenue picket line

Determination on the Avenue picket line (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Teachers and other school workers struck at Avenue Primary in Newham, east London, on Wednesday. It was the NEU union members’ first of two days of strikes, an escalation from the previous one day strikes.

Over 40 staff and supporters chanted, “Our School is not for sale”. Dominic Byrne, from the NEU NUT section Outer London executive told staff that they would be supported all the way if they wanted a “programme of action”.

It has been obvious that token one day or even two day strikes are not enough to budge a management determined to impose academisation on an Ofsted-rated “good” school.

Support from parents has been a characteristic of anti-academisation campaigns in other parts of the borough. Some 69 parent signatures in support of strike action were collected in 20 minutes outside Shaftesbury School.

NEU members at the school are balloting for action, and a second parents’ meeting has been called.

Soyeb, one of the parents behind a legal challenge to the inadequate consultation process, asked for support for a crowd funding initiative.

Opposition

If the legal challenge wins, it will be less easy to ignore parents’ opposition to academisation in other schools.

Union organiser Michael Gavan pointed out the school should not be using money designated for children's education to fight the case against their own parents!

Shubbida, another parent, expressed the determination to fight to keep their school.

NEU members at Cumberland, a large secondary school in the south of the borough, are due to take their second day of strikes on Thursday of next week. It follows a very solid turnout on their previous strike.

The Community Schools Trust is the Multi-Academy Trust which plans to take over Cumberland.

The PFI debt, and the fact that Carillion runs the non-teaching service contracts are aspects entering into its calculations.

Cumberland staff are determined to protect the children's interests and the future of the school as a local community school.


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