Wearing purple, the campaigning colour of suffragettes, parents, their children and staff from St Andrew and St Francis, protested outside the Department for Education (DfE) headquarters in Westminster this morning (14th May).
Braving the rain they chanted “give us a vote”. This referred to the Interim Executive Board’s (IEB) refusal to grant parents an independent secret ballot to prove, once and for all, their claim that the overwhelming majority of parents are against a forced academy.
Irene Scorer, parents’ organiser, said, “They say they support parental choice. Why won’t they give us a fair vote in a secret ballot to establish what the parents’ choice is?” Irene handed in the petition signed by 230 parents asking for a vote to a representative from Nicky Morgan’s department at the DfE on behalf of the parents.
|Outside the Department for Education|
Lesley Gouldbourne, Brent NUT Secretary, said, “Today was the seventh day of strike action taken by staff against an enforced academy. We have said all along we could have called strike action off if parents had been allowed an independent ballot”. She quoted from the Parliamentary Education Committee’s report on Academies and Free Schools, “We have sought but not found convincing evidence of the impact of academy status on attainment in primary schools.”
Hank Roberts, ATL Secretary, said, “Teachers and support staff have been standing up not just for themselves but for parents’ rights. We are pleased that the newly elected MP for Brent South Dawn Butler and Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council are calling for Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education to review the academy order in the light of claimed Ofsted irregularities, misrepresentations of parents true views to the DfE and the school already about to come out of special measures”. The most recent Ofsted monitoring report after a two day inspection at the end of April 2015 says, “The school is making reasonable progress towards the removal of special measures”.