Updated 02/03/2018 – see below..
Report: March to lobby the council 26/02/2018 – Opposing academisation.
There were an estimated 200 people on the march – parents, teachers, and local community members.
Louise and Carel and parents addressed the full council meeting.
NEU Secretaries or Presidents from Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Greenwich, and Waltham Forest attended in support of NEU Newham.
The campaign to oppose academisation had a significant victory on Monday night. The council passed very clear amendments opposing academisation.
The wording of amendment 2.1 passed by Newham council on Monday 26th Feb, both Robin Wales and mayoral contender Rokshana Fayaz voting for it, reads:
‘This council resolves to call on all governing bodies who are considering academisation to halt all steps towards academisation until and unless there has been a binding parental and staff ballot, conducted by an impartial body such as the Electoral reform Society. If the ballot votes No to acdemisation then that outcome must be accepted and implemented.’
The NEU will be sending the letter attached to all chairs of governors, all heads, and all NEU reps. All councillors have been emailed asking them to implement this resolution. NEU Newham letter View / Download [▼]
We have heard back from Cllr Abdul Muhit to see if a postponement of the academisation of Nelson, Vicarge, Elmhurst and Gallions can be halted. Please get in touch if you want support at your school to oppose moves to academise.
Many thanks to all the NEU members, neighbouring NEU branch representatives, local parents, and community supporters who participated in the march. Our thanks also go to local council members who listened to our views.
On Thursday 22nd February NEU members (NUT section) were out on strike at three Newham schools. Parents, teachers, and support staff received a solidarity message from Jeremy Corbyn, “I send my solidarity to you today on the Newham Schools strike against academisation of Keir Hardie, Avenue and Cumberland schools. Our schools should be accountable to parents, staff, and the whole community – and with Labour’s National Education Service, they will be. Well done to parents, staff and their union taking a stand today for our children. They must be listened to”.
With Avenue on their seventh strike day, Cumberland on their third, and Keir Hardie taking their first strike, there is a momentum to the borough-wide campaign against academisation. The campaign is now focussed on the demand for binding parent and staff ballots at each school considering academisation. At Keir Hardie’s pre-strike day meeting at ACAS the NEU reps won agreement for an emergency governing body to consider this demand. The union is confident that where there is time to put the case, and commitment to an open and honest ballot, parents and staff will vote to keep schools with the local authority.
At the 80-strong strike rally Louise Cuffaro the newly elected NEU Newham secretary led with the resolute message, ‘Unity is the way to win’. Shebbida, one of a very organised vocal group of Avenue parents, referring to their legal case against unfair consultation said, ‘We are fighting for our school and our community’. Reps from all three schools spoke, showing the hard work and the long journey leading to the strike action needed to make their voices heard. Martin Powell-Davies Regional Officer NEU (NUT section) said academies used two ways to save money, ‘by worsening staff terms and conditions and by changing the students, keeping only those who would get good results’. Dominic Byrne, Outer London Executive member, gave an assurance that the union would back members wanting to take action against academisation ‘all the way, until the other side blinked’. Seychil, a parent at Keir Hardie and staff member at Avenue, moved everyone with her appeal to, ‘Save our schools for our children’.
Union meetings, letters to governing bodies, lobbies of governing body meetings, leafletting at school gates, and parent/carers meetings continue to be organised, spreading to other schools in the firing line. Please get in touch with the union officers email <firstname.lastname@example.org> if you have any concerns about the situation at your school.
A number of Newham schools have resisted the pressures from the DfE, the Regional Schools Commission, the private consultants and above all the council, and have decided against academisation.
A protest march to East Ham Town Hall is planned for Monday Feb 26th 5pm. A motion opposing academisation will be put and delegates, including the union branch secretary and Avenue parents, will speak. Parents and staff from all schools, and all members of the community who want to defend council services from the failed model of academisation, outsourcing and privatisation are invited.
What is the justification for the stunningly high salaries and pay rises enjoyed by many academy CEOs and managers?
Warwick Mansell’s latest blog picks out some of the highlights from recently filed academy accounts and explores the implications of introducing private sector pay practices into state schools. What sort of perverse incentives could these practices introduce if based on school “performance” and are they justifiable or even sustainable given the funding pressures on schools?
There are coordinated strikes across Newham today, 22 February, to oppose academisation, plus a lobby of the council on 26 February.
Opposition to outsourcing and privatisation is growing —workers have the power to win.
At Avenue school, strikers held a two-day strike recently, an escalation from previous one-day strikes.
Cumberland School NEU members also held a strike recently.
NEU members are balloting for strikes at Shaftesbury School and Keir Hardie schools in the borough.