Monday 19 February 2018

Academisation battle: Village School staff strike for another 3 days this week and withdraw goodwill

From the NEU

As staff in the NEU at The Village school in Brent take three more days of strike action this week (20th, 21st and 22nd) they are also withdrawing goodwill. Every non-strike day between now and the 28th February when the Governors meet to make their decision as to whether to convert to an academy or not, they will only “work your proper hours”. Usually they work many extra hours of non-directed time every week. 

Cllr Jumbo Chan, said “I am very proud that many of my Brent Labour Group colleagues, including the leadership, are supporting the teachers and support staff of The Village School, who are being forced again this week to take action to stop their school being academised. I do hope the governors finally acknowledge this move as unpopular and unnecessary, and to immediately halt the misguided move towards academisation.” 

As part of their action staff will be holding a letter writing session to Governors on Tuesday after the early morning picket on the steps inside the Brent Civic Centre. On Wednesday, they will return to protest and sing songs to highlight their campaign. They have also been trying to organise one to one meetings with Governors over the three strike days. Gail Tolley, Strategic Director for Children and Young People has agreed to meet the strikers on Wednesday. 

Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North has written further to the Head, Kay Charles following the public meeting on 8th February. In a detailed letter outlining arguments that called into question the depth of the consultation and the one-sided view given, he urged her to, “convey to all Governors ... the absolute opposition that was expressed by parents, teachers, staff, local council representatives and other fellow citizens of the Borough.” 

He concluded warning Governors that taking what would be “an irrevocable decision” would cut the school off from the “democratic accountability of the local authority” an authority that had given The Village school “the extraordinary endowment of £29 million”. He hoped the Governors would “decide to keep the school as part of the Brent family of schools and decide not to become a Multi Academy Trust” rather than rely on a “potentially distant and hostile secretary of state”. 

Martin Powell-Davies, London Regional Secretary NEU, NUT Section said, “It is astonishing that Governors should be considering academisation of this school in the face of overwhelming evidence that the academies system is failing to improve pupil attainment but, instead, is resulting in an expensive, unstable, inefficient and undemocratic mess.”

Doru Athinodoru, Regional Official NEU, ATL Section said, “Public money, Public ownership, public accountability.” 

These comments mirror the conclusions of the very well attended meeting organised by Barry Gardiner on 8th February. Staff and others are lobbying for the Governors meeting on 28th February to be open to the public as Barry Gardiner had urged the Chair to do so. There has been some movement on this but the lobbying continues.

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