BREAKTHROUGH! Governors agree to defer academy consultation and conversion plans at all THREE schools in the Prendergast Federation
STRIKE ACTION WITHDRAWN FOR JUNE 3/4
Over the last few months NUT members and other trade union colleagues at the Prendergast Federation, together with students and parents, have mounted a tremendous campaign to oppose the damaging academy conversion proposals. Demonstrations, strikes, meetings – and now legal challenges over Government Regulations – have all helped to keep up the pressure on Governors to think again – and now they have! They have now agreed to defer both the consultation and conversion proposals at ALL THREE SCHOOLS in the Federation.
This is a major breakthrough for the campaign. It reflects the pressure that has built up over months, culminating in legal challenges that have left Governors with little option but to pull back from their plans. Every NUT member and SAIL campaigner should be proud of themselves for standing firm and refusing to accept that the academy steamroller was unstoppable. The campaign has shown the lack of public support for academies and the lack of any evidence that academies help education.
This is not yet a final victory. The DfE will want to rewrite their Regulations so that the Prendergast Federation and other federated schools can start over with their plans. However, we hope that Prendergast Governors will resist DfE pressure to do so and instead win back the goodwill of the school community in the interests of education. As parent Ned Boulting said, quoted in the Guardian, “governors have created a rift [that] will raise questions with teachers as to whether they want to stay on at the school”. Regrettably, he understood the dangers better than Governors.
Unless or until the Governors withdraw their academy plans altogether, then the dispute still continues. However, for now, the proposed strike action on June 3rd and 4th has been withdrawn. We are confident that, boosted by today’s news, staff, students and parents will be ready to continue their campaign if necessary.
Martin Powell-Davies, Secretary, Lewisham NUT - June 1 2015