Avenue School NEU members on strike

Solid strike action at Avenue Primary School with over 50 NEU members taking action to protect their conditions that are under attack through the planned academy conversion. The strike was well supported by parents and the local community. Many parents are opposed to the academy conversion and are angry the school governors do not listen to their views and are refusing to hold a ballot of all parents.

A parent said “why are they afraid to find out what we want for our children’s education”.



Louise, School rep and NEU Newham Officer, said this is just the start and the fight continues”.



Kevin Courtney, NEU Joint General Secretary, attended the picket line and spoke to members and parents.
Further strike dates have been announced.

Avenue School Strikes Against Academisation

Press Release:

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Avenue School Strikes Against Academisation

Over 50 staff at Avenue Primary School, Meanley Road, E12 6AR in Manor Park, Newham will be on strike on Wednesday, 29th November. Teachers, learning support assistants and office staff will all walk out as part of the campaign to save their school from being taken over by the EKO Multi-Academy Trust.

Academisation undermines the pay, conditions and job security of all school staff. It also breaks the link between local authorities and schools and ends any accountability between the school and its parents.

Avenue parents are fully behind the staff and because they want to see Avenue remain as a community school, maintained by Newham Council.

Avenue is a good school, academising it is neither necessary nor needed. It will do nothing to improve education standards

Avenue’s National Education Union school representative, Louise Cuffaro, said:

“Avenue Primary School is a good school. There is every reason to stay as a Local Authority Community School and absolutely no reason to hand over our school building and land to a Multi Academy Trust who have no connection or interest in the local community and the children who attend or will attend our school in the future. Those same trustees would be in charge of staff pay and conditions and as we know from the experience of staff in other Academies our pay and conditions won’t be maintained. The number of LSAs will be cut, experienced teachers will be forced out and be replaced by cheaper staff all to the detriment of the education of the children. We don’t want to strike but feel forced to as our employer won’t listen to us and our views against academisation are being ignored.”

For more information contact NEU Regional Secretary, Martin Powell-Davies, on 07946 445488.
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National Pensioners Convention – Press Release

NPC Press release

Pensioners dismayed at Chancellor’s lack of action to tackle social care crisis, the demand for more suitable housing or fuel poverty

Britain’s biggest pensioners’ organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has expressed its dismay at the lack of any announcements from the Chancellor in today’s Budget statement that would benefit older people.

Like millions of older people, the NPC was hoping for some further details on plans to tackle the growing crisis in social care, a programme for tackling the scandal of fuel poverty and needless winter deaths among pensioners and the urgent need for more suitable senior housing.

Jan Shortt (double t), NPC general secretary said: “It appears that it’s not just the Chancellor’s cars which are driver less – so too is his policy on older people. There was no promise of much needed funding for social care or any measures that could help pensioners to move to smaller properties, but the biggest omission was the fact that Mr Hammond never mentioned the 34,300 older people that died last winter from the cold. In a country which boasts the sixth strongest economy in the world, the fact that tens of thousands of older people die every winter is a national scandal.”

On housing Ms Shortt said: “The picture on specialist housing for older people is one of under supply. We need a 75% increase in specialist properties by 2035 if we are to meet a growing older population. This represents just over 51,280 dwellings a year for the next 18 years; well below the current building rate. In 2014, just 1% of UK new builds were bungalows, down from 7% in 1996. An urgent house building programme is therefore needed to match this under supply with the growing demand, and a stamp duty holiday for older people right sizing in retirement into homes under £200,000 could release up to 111,000 properties for younger families. The Chancellor certainly could have been more imaginative with his housing policy.”

On social care Ms Shortt said: “The social care system has suffered over £5bn worth of cuts since 2010 – and over one million older people no longer get the help they need, staff turnover is high, the quality of care is sometimes questionable and there is a distinct lack of dignity in the system for both staff and residents. A Green Paper that’s been promised next summer is simply too little, too late for hundreds of thousands of older people and their families. The Chancellor should have offered something now.”

On fuel poverty and winter deaths Ms Shortt said: “Today we learned that 34,300 older people died last winter because of cold related illnesses. This is the second highest number in the last five years and represents 285 deaths a day or 11 deaths an hour. Successive governments have simply ignored the problem of winter deaths amongst the older population and seem to have a policy of crossing their fingers and hoping things will improve. The fact that the Chancellor didn’t even have the courage to mention the issue today, or give any details as to how the government is going to tackle the issue, is quite unbelievable. The key to tackling winter deaths is to make sure older people have got a well-insulated, warm home and the income needed to pay the fuel bills. This is a basic requirement of what a decent society should do, and the today the Chancellor has failed in this duty.”

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