Avenue Primary School won’t become an academy after six months of parent protest

Staff on strike outside Avenue Primary School

Staff on strike outside Avenue Primary School - Credit: Archant

After six months of campaigns, parent protests and a potential judicial review, Avenue Primary School will not become an academy.

Teachers and parents marching to the town hall ahead of a full council meeting to protest against th

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 - Credit: Archant

After six months of strike action, Avenue Primary School will not become an academy.

At a meeting last Thursday, the governing body decided not to continue with plans to academise the school in Manor Park.

Staff and parents protested for a total of 19 days, including one outside an academies show at London’s ExCel arena, and a protest which occupied the foyer of the school.

The NEU’s regional secretary, Martin Powell-Davies, said: “Staff and parents will be delighted to hear that members of the NEU can now end their strikes, knowing that Avenue Primary is going to remain a community school.

“The NEU would like to thank Avenue Governors for reaching this decision and all in the school community who took part in the vibrant campaign.”

Avenue was due to become an academy under the EKO Trust at the beginning of April, but following the announcement of a judicial review into the legality of the process, this was postponed.

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In February Newham Council pledged to oppose further academisation across the borough. Newham’s new mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz, also promised to oppose the academisation process.

A Newham Council spokeswoman said: “Following Avenue’s decision to become an academy, the NEU balloted its members to take sustained and continuous industrial action as they believed their terms and conditions would change. The school and the trust provided reassurance that this was not the case. “The local authority had been increasingly concerned about the ongoing disruption to the education of the children and impact on local families. In response, the council met with the school to explore how the local authority could assist in bringing an end to the industrial action.

“The governor’s decision to stop their academy plans is one that they have taken in the best interests of their children and the council is committed to working with the school to ensure they have the necessary support to deliver improved attainment.”

An EKO Trust spokesman said: “We are saddened that Avenue will not be joining our family of good and outstanding schools but understand their decision was made to halt the industrial action at the school and ensure no more children missed education.”

A spokesman from Avenue Primary School said: “The governors held an emergency meeting with the aim of reaching a compromise with the union. The position offered by the NEU provided no assurance that the industrial action would stop. Had the governing body adhered to the NEU’s demands they would have been forced to take some unlawful actions.

“The Governors therefore took the decision to stop their plans to convert the school to an academy. Although the Governors continue to believe that their decision to join an academy trust was the correct strategic direction for the school, they believed that had they pursued their academy plans, strike action would continue.”