Teachers and support staff at Montgomery Primary School in Birmingham struck today, Tuesday, against their school becoming an academy.
The solid strike closed the school in the Sparkbrook area of the city. NUT, NASUWT and GMB union members all struck together.
As pickets gathered outside the school about 20 parents joined the picket line, making a vibrant and noisy picket of 60 people. Passing motorists tooted their support.
Becky Adams, an NUT union rep at the school, told Socialist Worker, “It was brilliant! We had fantastic support—more than expected from the community, children and staff.”
Ali, an NUT member, said, “It was great to see everyone together over a common issue. This is the privatisation of our school.”
The pickets re-wrote some popular children’s songs for their strike. “The wheels on the bus go round and round” became the “the wheels on the academy all came off” and “hey ho, hey ho, it’s off to work we go” became “say no, say no, to academies we say no”.
The school has been told it has to become an academy but staff and parents are determined to resist.
At a meeting after picketing, workers and parents discussed plans for continuing the campaign. A parents campaign will include leaflets in English and Urdu, a ballot on the school gates and a lobby of the next governors’ meeting.
Anne Brimacombe, regional officer of the NASUWT union said she was “overwhelmed with the turnout today”. She added, “We need to put pressure on the local authority to come up with alternatives for the school.”
David Room, assistant general secretary of Birmingham NUT, was applauded when he said, “This will be the first of several strikes, demos and meetings. Be prepared for extended strike action and a rolling program of strikes.”
The head and governors will have been left in no doubt that parents and staff at Montgomery will fight to save their school.
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