by Sadie Robinson
Workers and parents at Avenue school in east London scored a victory this week after school bosses retreated on an academy plan.
NEU union members at Avenue had staged several strikes against the plan. Parents had also launched a legal challenge.
On Monday it was agreed that no academisation would go ahead this calendar year. One Avenue parent told Socialist Worker the academy plan was all about “greed and money”.
Unfortunately at nearby Cumberland school the NEU called off a planned three-day strike after the school signed over to become part of a multi-academy trust.
Workers there had staged ten days of strikes against the plan.
Carolyn is the NEU rep at Cumberland. She told Socialist Worker, “We have been part of a major fightback against academies. But unfortunately the borough u-turn to an anti-academy position came too late for us.
“We are determined to keep building links with parents. We have lost, but we have won much and we are not defeated.”
Parents and workers at Cumberland explained how academisation is harming education.
Parent Alicia told Socialist Worker, “Things have changed already.
“There used to be a ‘step up centre’ where children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) went in breaks and at lunchtime. But now they don’t have it. My son’s been so stressed.”
Parent Sharon added that academisation will see SEN children “pushed out”. “It will be all about the grades,” she said. Learning mentor Dee added, “They’ve cut support for children who struggle with a full time curriculum.
“It’s like they don’t care,” she said.
The victory at Avenue follows a number of schools retreating from academy plans. It shows it is possible to push back privatisation in schools.
And union membership at Cumberland has soared since the dispute began.
The fight against academies in Newham—and to defend education in all schools—will continue.
Campaigning Against Academisation—how to turn the tide. Saturday 16 June, 1-5pm, Wesley Hotel, Euston St, London NW1 2EZ. Public meeting organised by the Anti Academies Alliance. Go to antiacademies.org.uk
Teachers fight over pay and bullying
NEU members at Connaught School for Girls in north east London began a three-day strike on Tuesday. They are fighting for workers to be paid an inner London pay rate.
And workers across five schools in East Sussex were set to strike for 24 hours on Thursday, also over pay. Newer and lower paid workers have been denied a 2 percent pay rise.
The NEU suspended a strike at Acton High school in Ealing, west London.
Workers are fighting bullying, management’s response to behaviour issues and a planned takeover by Ark.
Teachers and teaching assistants in the NEU union at St Helens Primary Academy in Barnsley had their 4th and 5th days of strike last week.
They are protesting against bullying management at Academies Enterprise Trust.
A planned strike this week was suspended so that talks can take place at the Acas conciliation service.