Friday, 30 September 2011

Kingsbury staff and parents vow to fight on after governors vote for academy status

Parents, staff and pupils back the strike
Yesterday, Kingsbury High School in Kingsbury, north west London was shut to all pupils and staff. Teachers from the NUT and NASUWT were taking strike action against their school being converted into a Gove academy. That evening despite all the opposition the governing body voted for conversion.

Hank Roberts, NUT Brent Secretary said at the rally outside the school, “We regret that we have had to take action today. This was entirely avoidable had our offer of not taking industrial action if the Headteacher had granted parents their wish to have an independently overseen secret ballot (as staff had) been accepted. We have even offered to pay the costs of any such ballot thus ensuring that the school would not lose anything financially”.

Shane Johnschwager, NASUWT Brent Secretary said, “We are prepared to contact our action committees indicating that, should the Governors either not withdraw this proposal for academy conversion or continue to refuse to accept our generous offer to resolve this dispute as above, we will be calling for further sustained strike action. We consider that the responsibility for any damage to Kingsbury pupils' education will rest at the Governors' door as there is a straightforward, zero detriment, and costless resolution to this dispute”.

“We asked at our meeting with the Chair of Governors and the Headteacher what possible damage could an independently overseen secret ballot of parents do to the school and education in it. Their answer was that there was none. But still they refused”.

Jenny Cooper, organiser of the Parents Action Group said after the governors voted to convert at their meeting yesterday evening, "It was reported that 74% of the parents wanted the school to become an academy. This figure is completely made up and we know it is not true. It was said that only 4 parents called for a ballot - the real figure is at least 70. The Headteacher knows this as he was at the meetings where parents asked en masse for a ballot. Governors were told that a 6% return of surveys was a signal for them to go ahead with conversion. It was actually a signal that parents boycotted the survey because of its leading questions".

Members of the two unions as well as parents will be planning their next moves and say the campaign is not over. The school does not convert until 1st December.

The Willesden and Kilburn Times reported that Councillor Mary Arnold, Brent Council's Lead member for children and families called the plans ‘short sighted’...“As a school with a high community profile you would expect the views of the staff and parents at Kingsbury High to be paramount, and the governors should take them on board.”

No comments: