|Kiri Tunks, Joint National President of the NEU, addresses the protesters|
The fight to save Strathcona School, Wembley, intensified On Wednesday. Staff, parents and children in greater numbers than last time, joined union colleagues on the steps inside Brent Civic Centre. While they sang their song and waved their placards, leaflets were handed out to those working in the centre and to the public. They were very well received and made an impact.
Siluan Buliga, a Year 5 pupil who was there with his mother Oana, said:
I learnt to speak English with the help of the teachers. Without the school we won't have knowledge as school is education. I am really sad.
His mother Oana added:
The school is like a family. From the cooks to the teachers, all the staff work together. The school has been a great support and the children have done very well. I want to choose Strathcona for my next child who will be coming into Reception but Brent won't let me.
Another parent Vasantiben Kerai agreed the school has been very supportive and has made a great effort to support her two boys:
Another son is in High School and is in the top set because of the education he got at Strathcona.
Noreen Ahmed has had children at the school since it opened. She said:
My son has become more confident and opened up since going to Strathcona. They support the whole family as they did when I had health problems. They are like a family.
Brent Council intends to close the Roe Green Strathcona school site despite the fact that it is a very popular and successful school site. The Year 6 students achieved progress in the top 3% of schools in England in their SATs results this week. Cllr Muhammed Butt complimented the striking staff and parents on being very well behaved and making a colourful scene with their flags and placards. But staff say listen to our suggestions that will enable to school to stay open.
Kiri Tunks, Joint National President of NEU addressed the group praising them for their brave actions in speaking out against their school being closed. The protesters were also addressed by NEU London Executive members Stefan Simms and Hank Roberts, and representatives of Brent Trades Council.
Lesley Gouldbourne, Brent NEU Secretary said
The Strathcona staff have shown great dignity and unity in their fight to keep their fantastic unit open. Shame on Brent Council for not listening to them.
Mary Adossides, Chair Brent Trades Council said:
Brent Trades Council send a message of sport and solidarity to the striking staff of Roe Green Strathcona. Their fight in defence of education and jobs is a remarkable test of their determination to ensure the best for the children of Brent. May they win!
Cllr Jumbo Chan who sent solidarity greeting to the strikers said:
I fully support the brave staff, parents and other members of the Roe Green Strathcona community as they continue their extraordinary strike campaign to save their school from closure.
Rather than following the agenda of closure and privatisation set by the Conservative government, our Labour Brent Council should listen to these people who have shown so much dedication to public education, and support them to seek a new alternative.
Brent Council says that there are not enough students going there now that student numbers are dropping across the borough - but of course smaller schools and smaller classes are the best environment for Brent’s children (and after all its good enough for Eton!). And the school has submitted proposals to boost numbers by providing much needed places for SEND students.
An informal consultation received a massive 463 responses with all but 3 against (99.4%) - but Brent have ignored this and moved to a Formal consultation. Parents and staff say please join us and SAY NO to this consultation too.
Email StrathconaConsultation@brent.gov.uk or write to Michael Rollin, Children and Young People, 5th Floor, Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 OFJ