Named: The 92 academy trusts with multiple staff on £100k+

Copied from Schools Week

Ninety-two academy trusts with multiple staff on £100,000 to £150,000 a year have been named by the government.

Data obtained exclusively by Schools Week shows the majority of trusts with multiple employees on this kind of salary are small. In fact, of the 92 trusts named today, 56 have fewer than 10 schools, and 11 have just one each.

However, the list also includes 19 trusts with 20 or more schools on their rosters. These include some of England’s largest academy chains, such as the Academies Enterprise Trust, Reach2, United Learning, Oasis, Delta, TKAT, Harris and Ark.

Click here for complete article

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Standing in the way of privatised education – the battle against academies in Newham

Standing in the way of privatised education – the battle against academies in Newham

An inspiring battle in east London has breathed new life into the fight to stop academies. Two socialist activists, Carolyn McGrath and Miriam Scharf, spoke to Socialist Worker about how the campaign was built – and how others can take up the struggle elsewhere


Pickets at Avenue school in Newham during a strike in March this year

Pickets at Avenue school in Newham during a strike in March this year (Pic: Guy Smallman)


UPDATE: This week teachers and parents at Avenue school in Newham won a victory in pushing back plans to turn their school into an academy. Meanwhile at Cumberland school, also in Newham, plans to turn the school into an academy went ahead. But the battle to stop academisation and defend education in all schools is far from over.

Carolyn McGrath, NEU union rep, Cumberland school, Newham:

I’ve been the union rep at Cumberland school in Newham for the last three or four years. It’s a large union group but it had been quite passive.

For instance, some years ago when I first came to the school there was a national strike and protest in London. At the union meeting the night before, I assumed that’s what people would be talking about. But people were talking about car park issues.

The school has been said to be “coasting” for the last few years. We were under pressure to improve and to look for intervention. And those interventions were always put into the framework of academisation. There was no alternative offered.

The union group lacked confidence. A third of the staff had left and new staff didn’t feel able to stand up. So when academisation was put on the table, people accepted it as a fait accompli.

We didn’t feel we had a leg to stand on. If you’re told you’re underachieving, your self-esteem drops as an individual and as an institution.

But as time went on, we felt that we should stand up for the rights of parents to have a say. And just because we’re “coasting”, we shouldn’t be pushed into a system that is not good for pupils.

Why should we accept being pushed into something that isn’t a solution? If schools in leafy boroughs can say we don’t want academisation, why can’t we?

Before the summer holiday the CEO of the trust that would run the academy came to speak to us. We’d been told that we shared the same ethos, values and philosophy, but it was clear that he didn’t.

Carolyn McGrath

Carolyn McGrath (Pic: Guy Smallman)


People questioned his attitude towards inclusion and other things. People were cynical about his insistence that things wouldn’t change, because we felt something needed to change. That was the whole point – supposedly.

Over the holidays he started changing his human resources policies at the other school he runs, Forest Gate. It’s the only school in an empty Multi Academy Trust. So people could see that the claim that nothing would change was hollow.

We were concerned about our conditions, the threat to inclusion and the impact of PFI. We believed that the coasting label was being used to bully the management of the school.

We went to the governing body in September during the consultation period, but we were ignored.

Eroded

Because of our initial lacklustre response, we hadn’t offered an alternative. Ideally we would have jumped straight into a campaign, but that doesn’t happen when you’ve been eroded in the way that we had been.

So the union group slowly built up confidence and 32 of us voted to call for an indicative ballot.

I kept the doors open for other staff to come to our meetings. So when we said we were having an indicative ballot, Unison and GMB union members wanted to get involved.

Many of them joined the NEU to support the action and have been the backbone in many ways. Suddenly we grew from 32 to 98. And we’re now about 120. That made a big difference. We had a lot of meetings and we got very strong votes for strikes.

This isn’t like national strikes or demonstrations, when you know you aren’t going to get into trouble. It really requires people to put themselves on the line. It’s not easy.

The key change in Newham this year has been getting different people elected as union officers and reps.

I’ve been a member of the Socialist Workers Party since the early 1990s. It makes a difference because when something happens, you know where you have to stand and what you need to do. People have thanked me.

But when I called the first meetings, nothing happened. After the summer, when terms and conditions were being attacked, there was something concrete. So the number of people in the room was different, the conversations were different.

Staff at Cumberland are very committed and they care deeply about each other and the pupils. So when you put arguments about the community and the pupils, you’re talking to people who share those values.

Sometimes you don’t know how people feel. The first strike day I didn’t know who would turn up and every day it’s like that. But we’ve had between 30 and 50 people on the picket lines throughout.

All the way through, people have got stronger and more solid. People have found their voice.

Parents, workers and supporters during a strike rally in Newham

Parents, workers and supporters during a strike rally in Newham (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Having socialists in schools matters

Miriam Scharf, Newham NEU officer and campaigner with Newham Against Academisation:

The drive towards academies in Newham has been driven by education cuts. Our council started to abandon all services some time ago. And land values in Newham have been skyrocketing.

Anyone with an eye on the property market would only have to look at the land and see that it’s playgrounds, playing fields and schools. Academisation is a way of getting hold of that.

The council has been completely happy for schools to become academies. More of our schools started to be taken out of democratic control.

On the union side, we were letting it happen. Over the last 20 years our union in Newham has been far too weak. It has been dominated by right wingers who were happy keeping in with the employers, whether they were the local authority or academy trusts.

Two years ago we got a few more active people in schools and left wing people elected. And now we have a majority. We got more votes because of anti-academisation campaigns that had already taken place.

Having socialists in schools matters because we knew that strikes were the only way to stop academisation and we knew the potential. But we couldn’t prove that until the union committee changed. So over time we were building up a number of people who wanted things to be different in Newham.

In September I went to a union committee meeting and said I wanted to call a meeting against academisation. I was told by some officers that there was no point. But there were enough of us on the committee to vote for it.

For that meeting I asked Stefan Simms, an NUT divisional secretary from Ealing, to come because he’d already got strikes over academies going. He spoke and said you need two things – the union to strike and parents to support it.

I had ordered tea and coffee for 20 and we had 50 in the room.

Miriam Scharf

Miriam Scharf (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Some parents had been involved in a failed campaign against academies in July. They helped leaflet parents at schools, along with Labour Party members and socialists.

But we had no idea we were going to get such a good response.

Organised

After this meeting, I rang two key parents and we organised a meeting for the following week near their school so parents could get there.

We called it as Newham Against Academisation and the NEU, and we got 50 there just three local primary schools that were under threat. So we knew we were onto something.

The parent campaign last term was fantastic. It drew in other people. It lost at those three schools, but those parents remain totally engaged. So we have five key parents who have been to meetings at Cumberland, because their kids will be going there.

They have inspired union members by saying, ‘These are our kids and we want you to defend them’. They’ve helped leaflet other schools with us. And they speak different languages, so can reach more people.

The struggle at Avenue, led by the union rep and now Newham Teachers Association secretary, has been a major inspiration to everyone. The parents there have not only supported picket lines, organised petitions and attended meetings. They have also gone to the High Court to challenge the consultation process, successfully so far.

Another key thing is that the union nationally has recruited organisers. They went into schools that we identified as under threat and they recruited groups of union reps. They encouraged people to call union meetings and union groups to discuss academies.

Keir Hardie was won by parents working on the governors and the union group being prepared to strike. At the time they caved in a three-day strike was imminent. And they could see three-day strikes at Cumberland and Avenue.

Being rooted in your area helps too. For instance, in one school, someone told the head teacher about me and she asked me in to debate academies with a CEO.

We also had a retired head teacher on board who is very left and in the Labour Party. She and other campaigners, along with some anti-academy heads, are working on an alternative network of support for schools using Redbridge Education Partnership as a model.

The context to all this is the hope that people have in change. Our council is changing because the Labour Party is changing with Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership.

We’re all hoping our council changes. But our message as socialists is, without people fighting from the bottom for our services, they won’t deliver it.

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Anti-racists to march THIS SUNDAY demanding justice for the Windrush Generation – JOIN THE MARCH – details below

Anti-racists to march demanding justice for the Windrush Generation

by Sarah Bates


A protest for the Windrush Generation in Brixton, south London, last week

A protest for the Windrush Generation in Brixton, south London, last week (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Anti-racists are stepping up pressure on the Tories as revelations show ministers’ contempt for the Windrush Generation, and home secretary Amber Rudd’s lies are exposed.

Rudd denied this week that her department had ever had targets for the numbers of people deported. She said she had “not approved, seen or cleared any targets for removal”.

Speaking in parliament, Rudd said she would “never support a policy that puts targets ahead of people.”

But just 24 hours later she was forced to backtrack and admit that some targets were used. Rudd has been forced to issue a series of grovelling apologies, each more snivelling and false than the last.

But this is borne out of fear for her own career trajectory—not out of genuine remorse for the Tories’ racist “hostile environment” for immigration policy. She admitted to journalists this week she was “just thinking about staying the game”.

And on Friday a Home Office leak showed that her department boasted they exceed their target of 12,800 “enforced returns” in 2017-18. Rudd and then immigration minister Brandon Lewis were both copied in to the memo.

Panicking Tories have said that all problems from the immigration status of the Windrush Generation will be solved in two weeks. But this is the same government that promised to rehouse victims of the Grenfell fire, some of whom are still living in hotel accommodation almost a year on.

The Windrush scandal presents a real crisis for the Tories. It has revealed the racism at the heart of their policies.

The Tories have always thought that attacking migrants and pushing racism would win them votes.

Now they find that millions of people are rightly revolted by what they have done.

Stand Up To Racism has called a demonstration on Saturday 5 May in London demanding justice after the Windrush scandal. Its demands include an end to deportations, no hostile environment for any immigrants—and Rudd must go.

And the day after, Sunday 6 May, will see a demonstration against the racist Democratic Football Lads Alliance who plan to march alongside fascist Tommy Robinson in London.

It will be a weekend of protest—against state racism and the racism on the streets.

The fight against racism and punitive border controls cannot start and end with the Windrush Generation. It must be part of a wider fight against the system that makes scandals such as this one possible and part of a battle for open borders.

Join the demonstration. March for Windrush, Saturday 5 May, 2pm, Downing Street, London. For details go here On Monday 30 April join MPs David Lammy and Diane Abbott in Parliament Square from 4pm as the Windrush petition is debated. Details here
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Victory at Avenue school as academy plan is pushed back – but the fight continues

Victory at Avenue school as academy plan is pushed back – but the fight continues

by Sadie Robinson


Avenue school workers on the picket line in March

Avenue school workers on the picket line in March (Pic: Guy Smallman)


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.

Send messages of support to assistant.secretary.nta@gmail.com

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.

George Arthur

Send messages of support to NEU secretary Nicola Fitzpatrick at nicola.fitzpatrick@neu.org.uk
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East London schools strikers rally together against academisation by Sadie Robinson

East London schools strikers rally together against academisation

by Sadie Robinson


Teachers, parents and their supporters protesting yesterday

Teachers, parents and their supporters protesting yesterday (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Strikers, parents and their supporters rallied in east London on Thursday as three-day strikes at two schools came to an end.

NEU union members at two Newham schools, Avenue and Cumberland, are striking against plans to turn the schools into privately-run academies. Their action has unleashed deep anger against privatisation and the fact that ordinary people have such little say about their services.

Dee is a learning mentor at Cumberland school. “We don’t want to lose control over our schools,” she told Socialist Worker. “Academies aren’t accountable and they are less regulated. There’s nobody to question whether CEOs should have a massive pay rise or not.

“We want money for schools to be spent on children.”

Avenue NEU rep Louise told the meeting that the head teacher is wrongly claiming the academy process is inevitable.

“She and the chair of governors can speak to the governing body and say, ‘We’ve made a mistake, let’s stop’,” she said. “They pretend that they can’t do it.”

NEU president Kiri Tunks said the struggle exposed a lack of democracy. Strikers are demanding parent ballots on the academy plans—which heads have so far refused.

“Academies are bad for democracy and they don’t work,” she said. “People are not coming into this out of the goodness of their heart. They are in it to make money.”

She referred to one academy head who was grabbing £500,000 a year. But she said strikers and parent campaigners have shown it is possible to challenge privatisation.

“I can’t tell you how heartening it is to see fights like this,” she said. “That gives us strength.”

On the picket line at Avenue school in Newham

On the picket line at Avenue school in Newham (Pic: Guy Smallman)


School bosses are desperate to undermine the action and demoralise strikers. For instance, staff at Cumberland have been told that the academy plan will be signed off next Tuesday. It’s the day that workers are set to begin another three-day strike.

But as Cumberland NEU rep Carolyn told the meeting, “Rumours have been spread that we’ll be signing any minute now. This has happened since last year.

“In July we were told we’ll be academising on 1 September. Then it was 1 October. Then it was before Christmas. Then it was early in the new year.

“This is done again and again to make us feel it’s a done deal and we can’t do anything about it.”

Workers’ response at Cumberland this week was to vote unanimously to hold three-day strikes every week until the end of term.

School bosses say nothing will change if the schools become academies. But workers know that isn’t true. And they say changes will harm children with special educational needs (SEN) the most.

Dee said that since the academy plans had been floated, things have become worse for children. “They’ve cut the counselling service,” she said. “They’ve cut the support for children who struggle with a full time curriculum.

“It’s like they don’t care.”

Teaching assistant Sandra told the meeting, “When I started at Cumberland school we had 50-51 teaching assistants. Now we’ve got 14.

“They can they say there aren’t enough staff to cover SEN children so we can’t take them in.”

Cumberland parent Chester said the academy plans were part of a wider attack on public services.

“The government is starving schools of money,” he told Socialist Worker. “Ofsted is going into schools and failing them. It puts them into special measures and then they can be academised.

“It’s happening elsewhere too. They drive services down, then say they need to be privatised. This is systematic.”

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Parents, children and striking teachers protest at academies show

Parents, children and striking teachers protest at academies show

by Sadie Robinson


Teachers, parents and children protest at the Excel centre in east London

Teachers, parents and children protest at the Excel centre in east London (Pic: Guy Smallman)

 

Parents, strikers and children protested at east London’s Excel centre on Wednesday morning, against an academies show. The protest came on the second day of a three-day walkout by NEU union members at Cumberland and Avenue schools in Newham.

Demonstrators chanted, “Education, not privatisation,” and, “Our schools are not for sale.” Parents explained their fears about plans to turn their children’s schools into privately-run academies

Cumberland parent Alicia told Socialist Worker, “They’ve said nothing to us about what’s happening. They just keep saying nothing will change—but 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. My son’s been going to it for three years. But now they’ve said it’s in a building that doesn’t belong to the school. They don’t have it anymore. My son’s been so stressed.”

Sharon is another parent at Cumberland. “I’ve got two children with SEN,” she told Socialist Worker. “If the school becomes an academy, the SEN students will be pushed out. It will be all about the grades, and while some SEN students will get them, others won’t.”

It took Sharon six years to get her son into a mainstream school, and she stressed how important that has been to his life. “I don’t want my kids to be brought up to feel they are any different to anyone else,” she said.

“They need to socialise with other children, not just SEN kids.”

Alicia agreed. “He doesn’t go out, so his life is at school,” she explained. “It feels like we are going back to the 1950s with SEN children being pushed out. My son won’t be able to do his GCSEs and it feels like because of that, he doesn’t matter.”

Avenue school parents also joined the protest. One told Socialist Worker, “The head hasn’t engaged with us. There are lots of different languages spoken by parents, but they just put a letter out in English and that was it.

“There hasn’t been a proper consultation. I think the judicial review that parents are bringing over this will expose all the lies, inconsistencies and disrespect for the community.”

Another Avenue parent denounced the “lack of transparency” in the consultation process. “Why are we being fobbed off?” she asked. “Why are we being lied to? What message does this send to our children?”

Strikers protested at an academies show

Strikers protested at an academies show (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Strikes by Newham NEU members, and parent campaigning, has already had a big impact. A number of governing bodies at Newham schools have decided against academisation. And Newham council has taken a position of opposing academies and said schools considering becoming academies should hold ballots of staff and parents.

Labour councillor John Whitworth was on the protest to show his support. “There shouldn’t be profit made out of children’s education,” he told Socialist Worker. “Before our council vote, the council had been officially neutral.

“But there was evidence that some councillors were working with schools to academise.

“Before some people felt schools becoming academies was inevitable. But now there have been several results that indicate the tide is beginning to move against academies.”

At Avenue school parents have held protests during the first two days of strikes this week. Meanwhile at Cumberland, workers were told that school bosses are about to sign documents to make the shift to an academy official.

Workers already plan a three-day strike from next Tuesday. They have now voted to ask the union to sanction more strikes.

Carolyn is the NEU rep at the school. “I’m so proud of our union group,” she told Socialist Worker. “Rumours are always circulating about when the school will become an academy. It’s all about undermining our confidence.

“But we unanimously voted to ask for three-day strikes every week until the end of term.”

Carolyn added that the dispute has transformed the union group at the school—and that the strikes have taken place in a difficult situation. “Our school was classed as ‘coasting’,” she explained. “It feels like all the arguments are against us.

“But the teaching assistants—the most vulnerable and low paid—are out on the picket lines.”

Avenue campaigners plan to lobby the school governors on Thursday from 5.30pm. And there’s a strike rally on Thursday from 10am, plus a “festival for community schools” on Friday.

School heads and governors have tried to ram through the academy plans. But their arguments are so far losing.

As Cumberland student Hope told the protest, “Students are not being told the truth. We are told the strikes are all about money. But me and my mum will always back the people who are striking.”

Newham strike rally Thursday 26 April, 10am-12 noon, Highway Church, Romford Road, Stratford, E15. Festival for community schools Friday 27 April, 5-8pm, St John’s Church Hall, Stratford, E15 1NG. Campaigning Against Academisation – how to turn the tide Saturday 16 June, 1-5pm, Wesley Hotel, Euston Street, London NW1 2EZ. Organised by the Anti Academies Alliance. Go to antiacademies.org.uk
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School reps’ training

London Nut are running a casework training course over four days 12th-13th July and 15th-16th November.

This would be ideal for all reps and you are entitled to release for this training as part of

your role

Michael Davern

Southwarknut@gmail.com

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Southwark NUT members’ meeting this Weds 2nd May

Weds 2nd May from 5pm. Hot food provided. Speakers on Housing, UCU FE and HE strikes as well as a conference report and reports from schools.

Call 07983475050 if you have trouble getting into the building

Michael

Meeting at new NUT office near PECKHAM Rye station:

17-19 Bournemouth Road

SE15 4UJ

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Solidarity rally – Windrush Square Brixton on Friday 5-7pm

Brixton Respects, Brixton protects

Solidarity Rally with the Windrush generation and their families.

Speakers from the community, trade unions and local councillors

Windrush Square Brixton, Friday, 20th April 5pm-7pm

Join us in the place that celebrates the remarkable contribution of African and Caribbean men and women to this country. They built the NHS and worked hard against all odds and racism to maintain public services and communities across the UK.

Stand together in defence of the absolute right of the Windrush generation to be at the heart of any society that purports to be democratic, diverse and just.

Defy the disgraceful position of government and secure full rights for them to be citizens of the UK.

Demand an immediate end to Tory government racist immigration legislation and actions that bully and frighten our elders and the community.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/216539

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Other sectors fighting Tory attacks

Workers at Dacorum Council in Hertfordshire are in dispute with their employer and are set to ramp up the pressure with more strikes in the coming weeks if the employer doesn’t give way.

Last year the Tory controlled Council ditched long standing agreements with the Unions (UNISON & UNITE) on the level of redundancy compensation. And while the Council claimed it was a technical change to bring them in line with the sector norm, the depot workers quickly worked out the real agenda, after all sacking workers on the cheap is hardly a new or novel idea.

The new scheme impacts adversely on the low paid the very people who are least able to take the financial hit if their jobs are lost. The people who, day-in-day-out, in all weather conditions, work hard to make a positive contribution to local communities.

A one day strike in March placed the employer on notice that the workers mean business and are unwilling to sit down and do nothing while their hard won agreements are ripped up and discarded. But despite offers to go to ACAS the employer is still refusing to talk.

A meeting of the full Council is due to take place tomorrow night at The Forum, the headquarters of the Council, starting at 7pm. The workers will assemble a lobby outside of the building at 6.30pm, before joining the meeting in the public gallery.

We are looking for support from fellow trade unionist’s and activists in the movement who can come along in solidarity. Bring your banners, all are welcome.

The Forum

Dacorum Borough Council

Marlowes

Hemel Hempstead

Hertfordshire HP1

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