Over 100 staff at three special schools in Leeds struck over the threat of 17 full time redundancies in one of the new Specialist Inclusive Learning Centres last week.
The staff, members of the NUT, NASUWT, GMB and ATL unions, confidently struck as much for the children they teach for as their colleagues’ jobs.
They had lively picket lines at each school and held a rally at lunchtime. They received overwhelming support from members of the public and the parents who value highly the work these staff do.
Education Leeds, the outfit that runs schools in the city, was rocked by the anger and solidarity of the strike.
The night before it had already started to meet the unions’ claim.
Then, in the evening, 150 people attended a public consultation meeting over the merger of two primary schools.
There have been lots of mergers and closures of school in Leeds since Education Leeds was given control of schools four years ago. They have all led to staff losses.
The meeting rejected this approach. Parents, teachers, governors, union reps and community workers vigorously challenged the consultants from Education Leeds.
The executives at the front were left having to defend a proposal that would undermine real community cohesion and partnership.
Anne Oliver the chair of governors at Miles Hill Primary asked, “Why do schools have to be about numbers, not about quality of education provision?”
We hope to distribute our Respect leaflet opposing the merger to the 1,400 people going up to the G8 protests from Leeds this week.
Lobbying the council and future protests are also on the way.