Unions threaten primary school strike action against academy plans
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Wednesday 09 May 2012
Britain’s two biggest unions are threatening strike action at 13 more primary schools against plans to force them to become academies.
The 13, all in Birmingham, have been singled out by Education Secretary Michael Gove as under-performing
However, Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “There is no evidence at all to support the notion that changing the status of a school will transform the educational attainment of its pupils.
“The majority of the school communities in Birmingham do not support this move.”
Chris Keates, general secretary of the National association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, added: “The secretary of State has tried every trick in the book to persuade schools to become academies.
“Schools in Birmingham and all over the country are now facing unacceptable and unfair pressure to convert.”
The move follows decisions at both of the unions’ Easter conference threatening strike action over academy status.
Already teachers at Downhills primary school in Haringey, nerth London, are being balloted over the issue.
The school failed an emergency Ofsted inspection ordered by Mr Gove earlier this year. However, parents and teachers argue it is improving - having met the Government’s minimum target of 60 percent of pupils reaching the required standard in maths and English last year.
Mr Gove has singled out 200 primary schools which - for five years running – have not met the minimum target for turning into academies.
He argues that those who oppose him are “enemies of promise”.
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