Cumberland School staff set to strike over academy plans

Cumberland School Picture: Google Maps

Cumberland School Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Google Street View

More than 100 staff at Cumberland School plan to strike tomorrow in protest against a controversial move to make the school an academy.

Teachers and parents plan to take action against plans for the school to join the Community Schools Trust.

The move would mean that the school would no longer be under the council’s control but instead run by the multi-academy organisation, which currently manages Forest Gate Community School.

The strike will see Cumberland shut for the day for Years 7 to 10, as well as all pupils receiving autistic spectrum provision.

Parents and teachers are set to picket the school gates in Oban Close, Plaistow, from 7.15am.

In a letter to parents, headteacher Gillian Dineen said that the strike “is due to concerns of some

staff regarding employment terms and conditions that the NEU see as part of the decision to transfer to a new employer”.

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Newham National Education Union branch secretary-elect, Louise Cuffaro, said: “Cumberland is the third school in Newham to strike against academisation in the last two months.

“A growing number of councillors are supporting our campaign and it’s time to call a halt on any further academisations in Newham.”

A Newham Council spokeswoman said: “There is reduced capacity from local authorities to support schools and this has been brought about by changes in government legislation.

“Cumberland School has chosen to work with an outstanding local school which is committed to its pupils and the local community. It believes that by working in this way, additional support will be available to aid the school’s development to ensure that all pupils are challenged to meet and exceed their potential.

“Cumberland’s governing body and senior leadership team have made the decision to become an academy and they have reassured teachers that they are committed to upholding terms and conditions for staff.

“Arbitration through ACAS is being undertaken and it is hoped that this will prevent further disruption to the school and pupils’ education.”

The school will be open as usual on Wednesday.

The Community Schools Trust has been contacted for comment.