Monday 15 April 2024

Harris Federation told to keep their hands off Byron Park Primary School



Representatives of the Harris Federation of Academy Schools could not have failed to hear the chants and shouts of campaigners when they visited Byron Court Primary School to speak to staff after school today.

 The quiet suburban streets echoed to 'Hands Off Our School', 'Whose School? - Our School!', 'Kids not Quids'(a reference to the half-million salary of the Harris boss), and 'Byron Court - Can't be bought.'

The recent  LINK letter to the DfE by Gwen Grahl Brent Council Lead Member for Schools, was welcomed  by many parents I spoke to as a stepping up of the Council's support for the camapign against the Harris takeover. Several councillors sent apologies for not being able to attend, Cllr Jumbo Chan sent a solidarity statement and Cllr Daniel Kennelly (Preston ward) used the megaphone to pledge support for the campaign aim to keep Byron Park as an academy overseen by the local authority.

The campaign demands are basic:

1. Give the new leadership team, helped by the local authority, a chance to demonstrate that they have addressed the issues raised by Ofsted.

2. Suspend the academisation process while that happens and then arrange an Ofsted re-inspection that will hopefully record an improvement and make academisation no longer necessary.

Meanwhile the NEU is conducting a strike ballot on the basis that academisation would change and worsen their conditions of service. Presently many Federation school union branches are in dispute with Harris over wages and conditions.

Several speakers expressed pride in the way staff and parents were united in the battle to Save Byron Court - and the children deserve a mention too. They were passionate in their support for the school and not afraid to shout it out loud and clear.

The bright yellow shirts of the campaigners were symbolic of the upbeat mood of the protesters - they are clearly refusing to be downhearted and will fight on.

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