Staff at The Village School in Kingsbury, Brent have voted to take strike action against the proposal to turn the school into an academy, part of a Multi Academy Trust (MAT). Unless the proposal to become a MAT is withdrawn, NEU* staff will strike before Christmas.
John Roche, NEU ATL section Brent Secretary said:
The school passed its last Ofsted in with an ‘Outstanding’ judgement in all categories in October 2016 so clearly there is no educational reason to seek to become an academy. Furthermore, Brent Local Authority has put millions of pounds into this special school and now a state asset, our asset, is proposed to be privatised. Staff ask why is a Labour Authority not up in arms at this attempt to foist a Tory policy on one of their schools?
Lesley Gouldbourne, NEU NUT section Brent Secretary said:
The Government’s academy programme has proved a corrupt shambles that has done nothing to improve education and lacks accountability, in particular with finances. The Wakefield City Academy Trust (WCAT) has collapsed leaving 21 schools in chaos affecting 8500 children. Joining a MAT means all the school’s assets and any surpluses are handed over. A small group of unaccountable, unelected trustees control the finances. I am also finding it hard to understand why a Labour Council is not opposing the privatisation of this jewel in Brent's crown, especially at a time when it is taking other services back in-house. Cllr Butt has not replied to my email about this.
A report on BBC news in Leeds and West Yorkshire stated, “During a Wakefield Council meeting it was claimed that the Trust (WCAT) moved millions of pounds of school reserves into its centralised accounts prior to collapse. Leader Peter Box said he would be talking to the police about his concerns”.
Hank Roberts, NEU ATL section London Executive said:
The NEU believes that the Labour Council leadership is not following the democratically established overwhelming majority of Brent Labour Party members that oppose the loss of more Council LA controlled schools to be handed over to be privately run by Trusts. This is clear from the resolutions passed unanimously at Brent LP meetings and the London Region of the LP. Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition to the privatisation of state education has been made clear. Instead, it appears that they are doing the bidding of senior paid Council employees with an agenda.