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Anti-academisation protestors demonstrate outside show promoting academies at ExCel arena

PUBLISHED: 07:45 30 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:03 30 April 2018

Signs and banners being hung in protest outside the Academies Show at the ExCel arena on Wednesday. Picture: Rhiannon Long

Signs and banners being hung in protest outside the Academies Show at the ExCel arena on Wednesday. Picture: Rhiannon Long

Archant

Parents from an anti-academisation group in Forest Gate staged a protest outside a show promoting academies on Wednesday.

Avenue Parents Group, who are campaigning against the conversion of Avenue Primary School in Manor Park into an EKO Trust academy, assembled outside The Academies Show at the ExCel arena.

The day before, on the 17th day of staff and parent strikes, a demonstration outside the school led to protestors occupying the foyer.

A spokeswoman from the parents group said: “Parents have had enough, we’re fed up of the school regulating us. This is the 18th day of strikes, and our children do not want to be sat at home.

“It’s unacceptable that we’re being ignored.”

Members of the Avenue Parents Group gathered to protest. Picture: Rhiannon LongMembers of the Avenue Parents Group gathered to protest. Picture: Rhiannon Long

When the school was approached for comment, The Recorder was referred to Newham Council. A council spokeswoman said: “Parents have raised concerns regarding the impact the strikes against academisation, taken by the National Education Union, are having on the education of children at the school. A meeting has been held with parents, the school and its governors and the local authority to discuss their concerns and outline a course of action. The council and school would like to see an end to the strikes and a meeting will now take place next week with the school, local authority and the unions to agree a resolution.”

She said while Tuesday’s occupation was spontaneous, it was also proof that parents “would not be silenced”.

A fortnight ago, the group won a court ruling for a judicial review to challenge the legality of the school’s conversion. The group crowdfunded £7,000 to pay for legal representation.

“We’ve had many successes, and I’m pleased with all our work, but it never feels like we have achieved anything,” the group’s spokeswoman said.

“There’s never a compromise, there’s no negotiation. We need them to know – we’re not sheep who are going to be led.”

The Academies Show at the ExCel was an event for teachers, heads, and representatives from the education sector to learn more about academisation and its benefits.There was no response when approached for comment.

On Tuesday, East Ham MP Stephen Timms met with the head of Avenue Primary School, Martin Powell-Davies from the National Education Union and Grainne Siggins from Newham Council to dicuss the proposed conversion.

In a statement, he said: “Positive steps were taken to create dialogue between all parties. It was agreed that the head would propose to the governors that a further meeting take place next week between the governing body, myself and Newham Council.”

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