NEU STATEMENT, 8 MAY 2018: AVENUE SCHOOL (NEWHAM) GOVERNORS WITHDRAW THEIR PLANS TO CONVERT TO ACADEMY STATUS
|Front-page news in the latest copy of 'The Teacher'|
The Governing Body of Avenue Primary School has confirmed that, at its meeting last Thursday, it took a decision NOT to move forward with plans to convert the school to academy status.
Martin Powell-Davies, London Regional Secretary, who spoke to the Governors’ meeting, said:
“Staff and parents will be delighted to hear that, after a campaign that included nineteen days of strike action to oppose academy transfer, members of the National Education Union can now end their strikes, knowing that Avenue Primary is going to remain a community school.
The NEU would like to thank Avenue Governors for reaching this decision and all in the school community who took part in the vibrant campaign to oppose Avenue becoming an academy.
The lively rallies on the school gates on strike days, always supported by dozens of local parents, left Governors in no doubt that the campaign showed no signs of weakening. The determination and unity across the school community shown at Avenue School over the last six months of action will be an inspiration to other campaigns organising to stop academisation in their schools.
Unity was forged around the demand for a binding ballot of staff and parents to decide on academy transfer. The NEU offered to halt its strikes if such a ballot was agreed and proposed that meetings were held, and information circulated in community languages, so that parents could fully participate in deciding on the future of their school. Those demands should now be taken up by parents & staff of other schools to ensure genuine consultation over academisation.
Governors at Avenue must have known that the mounting evidence exposing academisation would mean a genuine debate could only reach one conclusion – to oppose transfer – and simply decided to withdraw their plans altogether. The energy and unity shown by both staff and parents in the campaign can now help Avenue School to further support children’s education. If there is any future attempt to revisit academisation, then the opposition will be even stronger!
The National Education Union made clear that we opposed academisation at Avenue because it would damage education and transfer the School to an unaccountable Multi Academy Trust. As a community school, parents will continue to be able to call on an elected Council for support.
The Avenue campaign helped convince Newham councillors when they voted in February to oppose academisation and to support the call for staff and parental ballots. The NEU looks forward to working with Newham’s newly elected Mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz, in developing plans to support Newham schools, including through developing partnership arrangements that avoid the unnecessary educational risk and fragmentation that academisation inflicts on local schooling.
The NEU congratulates its members on their successful action. Their campaign, alongside others being organised across London, is turning the tide of public opinion against academisation.”
Download the NEU statement here