Sunday 19 May 2024

Parents and community members join NEU strikers on the picket line at Byron Court



The struggle to resist the handing over of Byron Court Primary School to the Harris Federation Academy Trust reached a crucial new stage on Friday when NEU members at the school went on strike. Having explored all avenues and marshalled support from parents, community Barry Gardiner MP and Gwen Grahl, Lead Brent Cabinet Member  for schools, without any move by the government, the NEU saw no other option but to take official industrial action supported by the requisite majority of members balloted.

Support on the picket line included Brent Trades Council, a speaker from the Lyon Park Primary School strikers who won most of their demands, and an NEU member from a school in Hackney facing similar academisation. A speaker from Brent Trades Council made a speech expressing solidarity as did Cllr Daniel Kennelly.

NEU co-secretary Jenny Cooper thanked parents for their support and recognised the practical difficulties that strike action would create, but emphasised that the long term aim was to safeguard the future of Byron Court as a locally accountable school, close to the community and offering a broad curriculum with support for SEND pupils and second language learners.

Hank Roberts, veteran anti-academies campaigner, called for a creative approach to the campaign to ensure maximum publicity.

The overall message on the picket line was the need for unity and resistance to efforts to divide and rule.


Anonymous said...

Nice to recognise the practical issues but for many single parents, if the kids don't go to school, they don't go to work and lose money. You're talking about amplifying parent voice - were parents given a choice about strike action? No. Double standards. Not to mention only highlighting the parents who agree and not those who dare to dissent or give a different opinion from the campaign group.

Martin Francis said...

Thank you. If you look at previous coverage you will see that comments from parents/carers with differing views were published:

Anonymous said...

So the children suffered because the teaching and everything else at the school was INADEQUATE (in every single of the 5 areas) and now those same children ate suffering because the teachers go on strike.

Striking in this situation is NOT very "creative" in getting positive coverage or outside support.

Perhaps a 'School Sit in' where the teachers provide free booster classes to the children would have been a better "creative approach".

Anonymous said...

Or if community is so important, perhaps the parents who are available to join the protest could volunteer to look after the kids. Being able to have the time and means to join a protest in the middle of the day, in a cost of living crisis is a privilege that not everyone can afford. Community in name only and only if you agree with the 'right' opinion

Anonymous said...

Even if there were volunteers, think of the practicalities - who would be happy to leave their kids with strangers for the whole day? Lots of people are having to take time off work or losing pay, no one is happy about it, so get the Govt to stop the strikes

Anonymous said...

There's a difference between merely not being happy about it and actually struggling. Also a balance between protest and be sensitive to the needs of the whole community. 6 days when it's activity only in the morning and the rest of the day off is hard. Especially if you're disadvantaged, a single parent, a parent of a SEND child or vulnerable in any other way. Lobbying the government is hardly going to make the situation better practically in the immediate short term.