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Council resolves to fight further academisation of Newham schools

PUBLISHED: 12:17 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:16 27 February 2018

Teachers and parents marching to the town hall ahead of a full council meeting to protest against the academisation plans for three schools in Newham

Teachers and parents marching to the town hall ahead of a full council meeting to protest against the academisation plans for three schools in Newham

Archant

A motion to prevent further academisation of Newham schools was passed at a full council meeting last night.

A motion to prevent further academisation of Newham schools was passed at a full council meeting last night.

At a meeting preceeded by a march through East Ham, councillors debated for over an hour on whether to take steps to stop academisation and discourage schools from joining multi-academy trusts.

Parents and staff marched from Plashet Park to East Ham Town Hall before gathering to hear speeches from parents at Avenue Primary School and members of the National Education Union.

Councillor Mas Patel read out the motion on behalf of parents and staff from Avenue Primary School and others facing academisation.

He said: “I have always worked in close partnership with our schools to deliver the very best for children in this borough. The partnertship has delivered some of the best schools in the country, and Newham is the only borough where there is no attainment gap between less advantaged pupils and their more affluent peers when they start school.

“The academisation agenda and cuts to school funding risks that ability for a close partnerhsip. It risks the rights of children to a good education and the rights of teachers for fair and decent wages. It risks our whole education system being privatised.”

The council also heard from representatives from academy trusts, including Gary Wilkie, former executive headteacher of Manor Park’s Sheringham Primary School, which is under control by Learning in Harmony trust.

He said: “I think the risk you have on voting on this motion is you’re voting without having engaged with us, without a real understanding of what we can do as multi-academy trusts.

“Our MATs are not built upon privatisation, on increasing our own salaries, and certainly not on boosting our own egos. They are built on our successes in the past as proud Newham headteachers. MATs and the efficiency of scale that they bring are part of the solution to a reduction in funding which schools are facing.”

The motion states if a binding staff and parental ballot votes against academisation, schools must honour that decision. It also resolves to use all possible council influence to discourage schools from becoming academies.

Last week, parents and staff from Avenue Primary, Cumberland and Keir Hardie Primary schools united in strikes against academisation. Avenue is due to academise under the EKO multi-academy trust in April.

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