Socialist Worker

Teachers’ strike to stop academy scam in Greenwich

by Miriam Scharf
Issue No. 2610

Solidarity poured onto the picket line at John Roan school

Solidarity poured onto the picket line at John Roan school (Pic: Greenwich NUT)

NEU union members at the John Roan secondary school in Greenwich, south east London, took their second of seven planned days of strikes on Tuesday.

The Regional Schools Commission wants the school to join a new academy chain, the University Schools Trust.

NEU rep Kirstie Paton said, “Why should we hand over our school, which has been in public hands for 341 years, to a trust that’s only two years old?”

The first walkout last Wednesday saw a lively picket line. Teachers brought solidarity from six other schools.

Newham NEU secretary Louise Cuffaro brought the message from the east London borough that the fight against academisation can be won.

And NEU president Kiri Tunks told pickets that the union would support them all the way.

The teachers want the school to stay within local authority control.

A recent Ofsted inspection that deemed the school inadequate has not given the new school leadership a chance. Staff have questions about why so many posts have been left unfilled, leaving the school reliant on short term supply workers.


Previously John Roan had a good record on behaviour and with support could achieve this again. Parent Colin held a placard reading, “Ofsted—not fit for purpose.”

Parents have launched a campaign to challenge Ofsted in the courts. Perhaps the key to the rush to academise lies with the Joan Roan Charity Trust, which has more than £14 million in its property and securities portfolio.

The campaign to save John Roan from academisation has the support of parents, councillors and local Labour MP Matthew Pennycook.

NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney was due to speak at a public meeting alongside others on Tuesday evening.

Workers plan to strike again this Wednesday, Tuesday and Thursday of next week and on 11 and 12 July.

GMB union members at the school are also balloting for strikes.

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