Thursday 17 January 2013

Preston Manor teachers strike as Co-operative values betrayed

Values betrayed?
 Members of the National Union of Teachers at Preston Manor All Through school are to strike against the governors' intention to convert the school to become a Co-operative Academy.  Staff,  parents and the community had all been assured by the school's  headteacher Matthew Lantos and the then Chair of Governors, last year that forming a Co-operative Trust was not the first step to becoming a Cooperative Academy. The first strike will take place on Wednesday 23rd January in an attempt to force the governing body to step back from their intention to convert the school on February 1st.

The NUT wrote the following letter to parents this week.
 Dear Parents/Carers

You will be aware of the consultation over academy status. The joint education unions sent you a communication during that consultation (see overleaf) about why they believe this is NOT the right move for Preston Manor. In a secret ballot the staff rejected the move by 86.5% - a massive vote against an academy. This was also on a large turnout of staff. Parents have also voted by a good majority against the school converting.

Due to this overwhelming opposition the NUT, by far the biggest teachers union in the school,
balloted our members on possible strike action. This is particularly after the governors decided to ignore the staff and parent ballot and continue down the academy path. NUT members have voted YES by 94.6% on a high turnout to take strike action if the Governors do not listen to staff and parents.

None of our members want to go on strike and we are hoping to negotiate with Governors to at least postpone the process. Currently the school is a co-operative trust school supposedly run on a democratic basis. There has been no opportunity to develop this with almost immediate academy conversion.

The Governors are not following the Co-op values they and you agreed to.We therefore are asking the governorsto heed the democratic vote and not convert. The school, Co-op and unions have had the opportunity to put their arguments to both staff and parents/carers. No-one can claim that the facts were not clear to those voting. People clearly voted against an academy.

We ask that you support the NUT members in their action. The first day for action is proposed for Wednesday 23rd January. We really hope that this can be averted by the Head and Governors deciding to step back from conversion on 1st February.

Please contact the parent governors (details on school website) and tell them that you support the teachers and that governors should follow the democratic wish of staff and parents

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