Staff and parents stage protest against academy plans for primary school in Canning Town

Parents and children demonstrating outside Hallsville Primary School over plans to turn the school i

Parents and children demonstrating outside Hallsville Primary School over plans to turn the school into an Academy - Credit: Archant

Staff and parents at Hallsville Primary School yesterday staged a protest against plans to turn it into an academy.

Purple ballons with the message ‘No to academisation’ were released into the dark at the demonstration yesterday afternoon.

The Roland Road, Canning Town school and Scott Wilkie Primary School in Hoskin’s Close are set to join the Agate Momentum Trust, a move protesters say will lower conditions for pupils and job security for staff.

Around 50 people, including several members of Newham Council, gathered around a pop up gazebo for the protest in nearby Keir Hardie park.

In her speech, Newham Teachers’ Association international officer Miriam Scharf, said: “They [management] need to know we are not going to let our schools go to private hands, to trustees who have never been to Newham.”

Mother-of-two Casey Howard, whose daughter attends Hallsville, said pupils from Royal Docks Community School, which itself faced a staff strike against academisation last week, “took it upon themselves to come over and support us”.

She added: “It is important that the education of our children stays within our community, and the only way to do is to keep it within the local authority.”

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While both Hallsville and Scott Wilkie primary schools could not be reached for comment due to the Christmas break, a statement on Hallsville’s website said “current staffing arrangements will not change” under the multi academy trust (MAT).

“Existing staff transfer to the MAT with their existing pay and conditions protected by legislation,” it added. “The MAT intends to continue with national Pay and Conditions.”

Asked how Newham Council would fight the measure, West Ham Cllr John Gray said: “The council’s got to raise it’s game, in my view.

“The only reason that makes even slightly sense of academisation is schools are claiming that Newham Council is turning its back on schools, and so they’ve got no choice to academise.

“We want to make sure that Newham provides whatever resources or support that the schools need to remain in the Newham family of schools, which has transformed education in this borough.”

A spokeswoman for Newham Council referred the Recorder to the schools for comment.