Further strikes planned for Manor Park’s Avenue Primary School as staff and parents fight academisation

Teachers and parents outside Avenue Primary School in the last round of strikes in February. Picture

Teachers and parents outside Avenue Primary School in the last round of strikes in February. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Staff at Avenue Primary School in Manor Park are entering into their eighth day of strikes against academisation on Tuesday.

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. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

From Tuesday to Thursday, staff will be striking against academisation under the EKO Trust, which is due to take place in April.

A fortnight ago, Newham Council passed a motion to support schools in their fight against academisation, pledging to actively discourage schools from making the switch.

Louise Cuffaro, secretary of Newham’s branch of the National Education Union (NEU), said: “The NEU group continues to offer to go to ACAS [the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service] to negotiate an end to the strikes, either by an agreement to stop the plan to academise or to hold a binding parent/ staff ballot as per the council motion.

“With no agreement from the governing body, we will be on strike on March 13, 14 and 15 and then March 20, 21 and 22.”

A meeting was held last week with the Avenue Parents Group, the NEU branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), and councillors, to discuss the parents’ legal case against the process.

Parents have raised more than £6,000 to fund a judicial review challenging the decision to academise. They aim to gather £15,000 by the end of the month.

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At the meeting, councillor Salim Patel reassured parents that the council supported them in their campaign to have a democratic ballot against the change. Parents and staff held up ‘we want a ballot’ leaflets, and pledged to once again join the picket line tomorrow.

A spokeswoman from Avenue Parents Group said: “We don’t want to strike. We are only doing this because we want our voices heard.

“We’re not bullies and we’re not troublemakers, we’re doing this for our children’s education.”

Keir Hardie Primary in Canning Town and Cumberland School in Plaistow have also been striking against academisation. Last week an emergency governors’ meeting was held at Keir Hardie to discuss the possibility of a binding parent ballot.

Another meeting will take place on Wednesday at St John’s Church in Stratford, with speeches from the NEU branch of the NUT and the Newham Anti-Academies campaign.

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