Socialist Worker

Strikes can stop Tories’ academies funding scam

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2590

Teachers and parents picket Avenue School in Newham in east London

Teachers and parents picket Avenue School in Newham in east London (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Firms that run dozens of academies are relying on emergency handouts from the government to stay in business.

Several Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) have posted deficits while grabbing millions from the state.

The Rodillian MAT in West Yorkshire said it needs a “cash advance” to “operate effectively”.

Meanwhile Chapel Street Community Schools Trust’s accounts say it relies on “continued government funding”.

Over half of the biggest MATs have issued warnings about funding, according to the Observer newspaper.

The crisis comes as the battle against academies is hotting up.

Workers at The Village School in Brent in west London and Avenue school in Newham in east London struck last week against the schools being turned into academies.

In Brent NEU union members struck for three days following a 48-hour walkout last month.

Jenny Cooper, joint NEU rep at the school, told Socialist Worker that the strikes are having an impact.

“We now have a renewed proposal for how the trustee board would look if governors go ahead with academisation,” she said.

“We’re going to carry on the fight, but it shows that we’re having an effect.”

Teachers plan a three-day strike from 20 February and a 48-hour strike from 27 February. The strikes have massively built the union at the school. “In September we had 32 NEU members,” said Jenny. “We’ve now got 157.

“In January we thought that everyone who was going to join had joined, then last week we got another ten.”

Councillors 

School bullies meet their match—how resistance to school funding cuts is spreading
School bullies meet their match—how resistance to school funding cuts is spreading
  Read More

Strikers have won support from Brent Labour MPs Barry Gardiner and Dawn Butler along with many Labour councillors.

Council leader Muhammed Butt had previously said the strikers’ action was to “punish children”. But last week he agreed to write to the governors, stating that the council would prefer the school to stay within the local authority.

At Avenue school, strikers held a two-day strike last week, an escalation from previous one-day strikes.

It’s clear that one-day or even two-day strikes are not enough to budge a management determined to impose academisation.

NEU members are balloting for strikes at Shaftesbury School and Keir Hardie schools in the borough.

And those at Cumberland School were set to strike this Thursday.

There are plans for coordinated anti-academy strikes across Newham on

22 February and a lobby of the council on 26 February.

Opposition to outsourcing and privatisation is growing —workers have the power to win.

Thanks to Miriam Scharf

Send messages of support to Brent at hank.roberts@neu.org.uk and to Newham at assistant.secretary.nta@gmail.com

Parents resolve to renew the anti-academies fight

Over 40 parents, teachers and campaigners joined an Anti-Academies Alliance meeting in central London last Saturday.

It was clear that the struggle against academies on the ground has a renewed vigour.

Parents from schools that are currently fighting academisation were particularly prominent.

Many were outraged at the “consultation process” for turning schools into academies, which is very tightly controlled and lacks transparency.

The meeting also heard from NEU teachers’ union members who have been striking.

And the meeting addressed the Labour Party’s position on academies. It was agreed that Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for a National Education Service must include taking schools back into local democratic oversight.

Campaigners pledged to take this argument into union branches and local Labour Party and Momentum meetings.

Dave Gilchrist


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.