On the last day of their three days of strike action this week, members of NEU at The Village School, Kingsbury, London were addressed by Louise Regan, NEU NUT section National President. She praised their steadfast campaign to prevent their school from becoming a privatised academy.
Those three days have seen a significant advance in the campaign to stop the privatisation of this outstanding special school. On Wednesday 31st January Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North in the constituency of the school, met with a large delegation of NEU members in Parliament. He told the delegation that he is totally supportive of the campaign and has written to the Kay Charles, Headteacher and Cllr Sandra Kabir, Chair of Governors and Brent Labour Whip, giving them a long list of searching questions to answer.
He has written saying that he is “concerned over the proposal”. He goes on to say that the consultation is one sided “without setting out any of the problems or pitfalls”. “The Village benefited from £29 million capital investment from Brent Council … Is it right that this public money and the capital assets should be outside of effective democratic control?” He further says, “If the academy were to struggle financially or academically there would be no back up from the local authority.”
Barry Gardiner is so concerned that he has arranged a public meeting at 6pm on Thursday 8 February at the Brent Civic Centre. Parents, staff and local people are invited to discuss the proposal. He feels that the rushed consultation has not given enough time for debate.
Brent Central MP Dawn Butler has also written to Cllr Butt asking about the status and reasons for this academisation. Writing to a constituent she said it “concerns me to hear of the potential academisation” and that “many teachers and parents … have significant concerns”. “I am disappointed by this decision and believe the school should remain part of the local authority”.
The position of Cllr Butt and Cllr Kabir are becoming increasingly isolated and untenable. We wait to see the promised letter from Cllr Butt saying that the school should stay with Brent LA.
Hank Roberts said, “Jeremy Corbyn and the national leadership needs to reign in the words and actions of those who purport to be putting a Labour position, whilst in reality supporting Blair’s privatisation of education agenda”.