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Teachers strike at Avenue Primary School in Manor Park over academisation plans

PUBLISHED: 10:37 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:28 01 December 2017

Staff protesting this morning over Avenue Primary School becoming an academy

Staff protesting this morning over Avenue Primary School becoming an academy

Archant

Teachers and support staff have gone on strike today over proposals to turn their school into an academy.

A number of banners were held up by campaigners A number of banners were held up by campaigners

More than 50 employees have been joined by parents outside Avenue Primary School in Meanley Road, Manor Park, although the Recorder understands headteacher, Hafise Nazif, is not part of the protest.

They are opposed to moving from local authority control to management by the EKO Multi-Academy Trust, alleging it will undermine the pay, conditions and job security of all the school’s staff.

Avenue’s national education union school representative, Louise Cuffar, 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.”

The teacher also claimed that staff’s “pay and conditions won’t be maintained” based on their knowledge of other schools taken over by academies.

Louise added: “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.”

The claims have been rejected by the school’s governors and senior leadership team.

Kevin Courtney, co-leader of the National Education Union, joined people on the picket line earlier today.

The trade association - formed by the merger of the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers on September 1 - criticised the school for only informing parents of the strike yesterday despite being given notice two weeks ago.

Plans for a second strike on December 14 are due to be put to a vote.

The walk out is being supported by a number of parents who have criticised the “lack of transparency” over the plans, saying their voices have been “ignored”.

Avenue parents group spokeswoman Salema Khatun, 38, said: “Parents feel quite angry that they have been kept in the dark.

“What the school has not done is educate people about what academies are - the pros and cons so people can make an informed decision.”

The parent-of-three also queried how the trust, which runs four other primary schools, will cope with another 900 pupils on its books.

Denis Shea, Avenue Primary School’s chair of the governing body, said: “The NEU’s decision to call strike action shows a blatant disregard for the education of our pupils.

“The NEU are forcing young people to cross a picket line and the headteacher has worked tirelessly to ensure that the school will open today.”

A Newham Council spokewoman said staff who are NEU members were offered arbitration as an alternative to strike action, while the consultation was ongoing and no final decisions had yet been made.

She said the school’s governors and the senior leadership team believe a multi-academy trust would “provide more rigour and challenge to its teaching methods” and there was “reduced capacity from local authorities to support schools”.

Staffing levels had also been considered with plans for a “wider leadership and management structure” to be implemented if the move to an academy went ahead.

The spokeswoman added: “It is for our schools to decide how best to improve the educational standards for their pupils and we will continue to support our schools.

“The EKO trust and Avenue’s governing body and senior leadership team have repeatedly assured staff and given a clear commitment that their terms and conditions would remain the same when they move across.”

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42 comments

  • To all of those attacking the possibility that the school MAY become an Academy, I would like to point out the following. 1. It is not about the HT getting more money. It is about the future of Avenue and the current and future pupils. 2. Yes, the work at Avenue is great which is why other schools want to work with Avenue. Academisation is not a one-way relationship. 3. If there is ever bullying of staff in the future, I am sure there are formal HR processes in place to deal with this. 4. There have been 2 parent consultations and regular drop-in sessions for parents, I fail to understand how a statement can be made that parents are not being listened to. 5. It's a shame that some parents and some staff of Avenue do not want to work with and collaborate with an Ofsted Outstanding School (Kaizen, part of EKO Trust).

    Report this comment

    ChildrenFirst

    Tuesday, December 5, 2017

  • No to Academisation!

    Report this comment

    Anisah

    Monday, December 4, 2017

  • This school should not be turned into an academy.

    Report this comment

    Kulsoom Patel

    Monday, December 4, 2017

  • As an ex teacher of Avenue Primary School I can confirm that the school is very good. The teaching staff are hardworking, dedicated and professional. Unfortunately, they are and have been for a number of years, run by an unsupportive leadership. The chair of governors and headteacher are delusional in their understanding of what makes Avenue good. The teaching staff are not appreciated for their skills and achievements and are constantly forced into untenable situations that result in them having to take industrial action. This academisation is yet another move to undermine the good work taking place at Avenue. The education of the children is not on the agenda of the leadership team or the local authority. This move towards academisation is pure greed and undoubtedly more money for the headteacher.

    Report this comment

    RCoffey

    Sunday, December 3, 2017

  • Sao the Governors and senior leaders believe a Trust will offer more rigour and challenge for their teachers. They seemed to have missed off the word 'support'. This clearly demonstrates the low regard that they have for their teachers and are looking forward to bullying the staff in the future. This is shameful.

    Report this comment

    Earle

    Sunday, December 3, 2017

  • No to academy. Please don’t ruin our children’s future. Don’t be selfish think about the children’s future.

    Report this comment

    Tahera Begum

    Saturday, December 2, 2017

  • If we ruin our kids education, we are ruining the future of our country.... No To Academy!!!

    Report this comment

    No-Academy

    Friday, December 1, 2017

  • AVENUE PRIMARY school is a GOOD school!! Academisation is NOT the way forward. On 29th November it showed crystal clear to the nation the relation between teachers and parents of Avenue The solidarity against academisation!!! AVENUE does NOT need TRANSFORMATION!! TRANSFORMATION ABENUE NEEDS is HAFIZ (Headteacher) to STEP DOWN!! Since she came to this school ITS been a down fall!! Parents a petrified to speak anything in school. On 27th November Parents witnessed DH escorted parent out of school Coz issues were raised about majority teachers striking which was going to take on 29th November and safeguarding of our children. School Knew about this 2 weeks ago and could be bother to let the parents know. COZ THEY DONT THINK IS IMPORTANT TO THEM. They sent letters the day before the STRIKE!! HOW SICKENING IT THIS !! Our school does not listens to parents voice. HT gives a deaf ear to all !! NO TO ACADEMY BOO TO EKO!!!

    Report this comment

    HafizShouldStepDown

    Friday, December 1, 2017

  • SAVE OUR SCHOOL avenue school is good school as it is now we will not accept any changes so please help us save our school and say 'NO TO ACADEMY NO TO EKO'!

    Report this comment

    Ruma Chiwdhury

    Friday, December 1, 2017

  • No to academy. We can’t risk our children’s education, they are the future.

    Report this comment

    Haroon Jilani

    Thursday, November 30, 2017

  • Ask the EKO trust why they cant collaborate without academisation, because it is all about the money

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Thursday, November 30, 2017

  • These individuals will lie through the skin of their teeth to get what they want. Greedy and corrupt, the lot of em. Do you think their conduct has been professional during this saga?

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Thursday, November 30, 2017

  • Dont be fooled with the outright lies, just the same as the false promises made by the men and women in suits during the Brexit referendum.

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Thursday, November 30, 2017

  • No to academisation!

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Thursday, November 30, 2017

  • No to academy , let’s not be selfish please think about the children that’s the most important. That is our priority .

    Report this comment

    i_supermanz

    Thursday, November 30, 2017

  • No to academy , please don’t risk our children’s education and resources . Our children are our future and we should try build and invest in it not destroy it .

    Report this comment

    i_supermanz

    Thursday, November 30, 2017

  • No academics Please we are concerned for our children future becoz they are all the future of this country We all have to keep our future our coming youth bright. I strongly feel SCHOOL ARE BEST for our CHILDREN �� FUTURE Having a good changed in society is fine But we do t won’t this Change to poison ☠️ our children future We Believe Avenue Primary School is good should not change.

    Report this comment

    Amna Bibi

    Thursday, November 30, 2017

  • "No to academy no to eko" shame on the headteacher she is only thinking about her benefit and putting our kids education at risk..so please help us save our school.. Avenue is good school and we want it to stay as it is now join us with the fight and we will win it!

    Report this comment

    Shařmin Faiz

    Thursday, November 30, 2017

  • NO TO ACADEMY!! We are making a stand for the future of our children. Avenue is a good school and want it to remain like that!! SAVE OUR SCHOOL!!

    Report this comment

    KBEGUM

    Thursday, November 30, 2017

  • No to academy no to EKO

    Report this comment

    Hamida Hamza

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • We the parents know what’s good for our children and our school becoming an academy is not right for our kids. No to Academy!

    Report this comment

    Rucksana Zaman

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • Please help us save our school join us and say NO TO ACADEMY NO TO EKO! Avenue Primary school is very good school as it is now we do not want any changes to our school. The school was a friendly place due to our old headteacher Jane Brown. parents in our school have to opportunity to share their ideas to how to make the school better and a safer place for the pupils in our school. This is putting the children in Avenue primary school education at risk as many teachers would "move on" this is very bad because teachers in our school have good communication with the pupils. SAVE OUR SCHOOL!!!!!

    Report this comment

    zaitun

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • Avenue is a good school. We don’t need to be a part of an academy to succeed! Well done to the parents for making a stand.

    Report this comment

    RKhanom

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • I’m also worried that t.a wil be cut off and the lovely staffs wil be cut off and replaced my uneducated staffs who wil not care 4 our kids at all that’s my worry PleSe help us to save our school

    Report this comment

    Amala Luqman

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • Please help us save our school join us and say NO TO ACADEMY NO TO EKO! Avenue Primary school is very good school as it is now we do not want any changes to our school.

    Report this comment

    Shařmin Faiz

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • The school use to be a very friendly place when our old head Jane Brown was around. Unfortunately, parents have been pushed out and given NO importance to such an extent that we don't even have school fete's anymore ! Even this plan to academise the school was kept secret from us. The parent consultation was a joke as parents had no time to ask questions and we had to leave before it came to an end to pick up our children. Further more the survey given to parents about academisation was only given out in English when the school is aware that a very large number of the parents are from ethnic minorities.

    Report this comment

    marziamalik

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • Please help us in our efforts to stop this cancer affecting schools in Newham. We can alll work to improve outcomes for all our children. We do not need to take such drastic action. Neighbouring schools work well together to share teaching practice. We do not a MAT to teach our teachers how to teach. We were an ofsted rated good school in 2010 under Jane Brown and also a good school just afterJane left in 2014 so any issues arising we need to look carefully at what is happening now. We need to create a supportive environment to nurture our children as well as our teachers not demotivate them!!!

    Report this comment

    Shamsun Nessa

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • We feel that the whole consultation process is flawed, it does not seek to engage with us or work with us parents. It is merely a tick box exercise. The meeting was engineered by a consultant who chaired the meeting along with the GB and Head. Our questions are not reflected in the minutes ...see minutes on school website. It is one sided. We feel that because parents have been sidelined over the past 4 years.. the environment has become perfect for SLT to feel that they can make decisions on behalf of parents without engaging parents or working in partnership. We also feel that the spokesperson is not impartial and is not taking on the views of all the stakeholders. We also feel that staff have not compromised the safety of children at todays strike action. This was a planned event and done with full consultation and engagement with parents. SLT were informed 2 weeks ago. They chose to notify parents the night before. We still stand by our demands...to have a fair and open process, to work with the school, to be consulted fairly and to have a clear yes no ballot on such an important issue.

    Report this comment

    Shamsun Nessa

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • Finally... we the parents group are getting the chance to put pur views across. Firstly this issue has only come to our attention recently as SLT GB have been working with their mates Eko for past 2 years. They have slowly pushed the parents group out from coffee morning set ups and running fairs and taking part in school activities to the point that a designated parents room has been taken off them ..this has contributed to the way that the Head has managed to keep parents at school gates hence we had no clue of what was happening. When it was leaked to us in July by staff we have been working hard to raise awareness amongst parents to present both sides of academisation. SLT and GB have done nothing!!!

    Report this comment

    Shamsun Nessa

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • I was at the picket line, amazing to see such solidarity amongst parents and teachers. We are making a stand for the future of our children. We want the best for them and I don’t think that academisation is the way forward.

    Report this comment

    shal2wk

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • As to why EKO wants Avenue to join, think of how much additional funding 900 students will bring to their purse, it is a no brainer for them

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • This was a very successful and family and staff friendly school before Hafise joined. Bit by bit she has destroyed it, academisation is a direct result of her failings

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • Why is no one in a position of power questioning why the school is in the position that it is in? Surely it isnt rocket science?

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • Avenue Primary IS NOT FOR SALE!!! Overwhelming evidence show MAT's do not improve results, staff are stretched, young children are compromised of their education and parents are locked away from the school gates with no input or say in there childrens future. NOT IN MY NAME!!!

    Report this comment

    S6YEB

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • This whole acadamisation plan is a stich up to cover up the failings of the governing body and the senior leadership team and they must be held to account. There is no place to hide I’m afraid. It seems like the staff and the parents do not want to acadamise but will their voices be heard, I very much doubt it! Like I said, it is a stich up!

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • The governing body must also be held to account. Why have they led such a shoddy regime destroy the strategic direction of the school. What governance mechanisms have they been adopting? Why are they turning to a trust for help, are they not capable of turning things around and making the necessary big decisions at a localised level?

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • Conversations with current staff provide an insight into her dictatorial leadership style. Staff morale has plummeted along with the success rates at the school. Anyone with half a brain should be able to identify the root cause of the decline. In any well managed private business the buck stops at the top.

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • This is a stich up. The Newham Council spokewoman said “a multi academy trust would provide more rigour and challenge to its teaching methods”…if you read between the lines, this suggests the current governing body and senior leadership team are NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE.

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • This is a stich up. The Newham Council spokewoman said “a multi academy trust would provide more rigour and challenge to its teaching methods”…if you read between the lines, this suggests the current governing body and senior leadership team are NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE.

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • This is a stich up. The Newham Council spokewoman said “a multi academy trust would provide more rigour and challenge to its teaching methods”…if you read between the lines, this suggests the current governing body and senior leadership team are NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE.

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • Why is the school in the position that they feel the need to acadamise? Why dont they be open and honest with their stakeholders?

    Report this comment

    SaveAvenueHafiseHasDestroyedIt

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

  • This is putting childrens education at risk as many experienced teachers will be "moved on " the erosion of staff pay and conditions is also a concern. More privatisation through the back door . This does no fit with the ethos of the labour party hands off Avenue school cildtens education not for sale

    Report this comment

    Jan Holloway

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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