it Loud, Say it Clear! We don't want an academy here!"
NUT and NASUWT members at Worthing High School held a well supported
strike against the school becoming an academy. This process is marked
by a lack of consultation with staff. The public support was
fantastic, with a strong picket and protest outside the school gates
attracting frequent honks from passing cars.
the post-strike rally a long list of supportive messages from across
the country was read out. The rally attracted a number of parents and
supporters as well as
teachers and showed the determination of all to continue and escalate
the campaign through the summer and into the next term. I was
particularly grateful for the hospitality of two campaigners, Liz and
Terry, who provided us with coffee and sandwiches!
BBC report of the strike:
Education Minister Michael Gove is ploughing ahead with plans to form
as many academies as possible across Britain. Academies were
introduced (under New Labour), and have now been put into overdrive
by the present government. No new funding will be made available,
instead existing funds will be redirected away from other
schools at a time when overall education budgets are taking place.
an academy the school would no longer be accountable to the local
authority but to its own board of governors with expanded powers for
the Head. While democratic accountability of schools is not perfect
at present the change to academy status is privatisation and many
schools are now owned by large
education companies. Academies also don't have
to pay teachers on agreed terms and conditions and while largely
successful it is a constant battle for the teaching union to maintain
government has tried to give impression that academies mean more
freedom in an attempt to appeal to those who feel they don't have
much say in the running of their local schools. However academies are
a long stride in the direction of private companies running education
in their own interests of making a profit, with education being only
a secondary goal.
the country it is this profit motive that degrades staff terms and
conditions, reduces hours and makes hundreds of thousands redundant.
It is also this profit motive that sees endless corners cut, often
harming service users. Greater accountability and democracy over the
running of schools and children's education is an important campaign,
alongside decent funding being made available within the school
system, but this will not be achieved by mimicking the market or
flirting with the private sector.
top of the campaign against academies there is the struggle not only
against so-called pension 'reforms', but also workloads, pay cuts,
Ofsted bullying and changes to capability assessments. While the
mandate to strike over pensions remains in effect, the NUT has
initiated another ballot on the workload and pay described
Joint action with with other teaching unions was, last year a huge
success. Voting 'yes, yes' to both 'strike and non-strike action'
will be an important step in a potentially very strong campaign
against all these attacks.
June 16th over
100 NUT delegates met in Liverpool and to launch the Local
Association Network, a response to disappointment with the
failure of the NUT Executive majority to call further national action
on pensions since November (see report
still has a live ballot, and the initiative needs to be taken for
further strike action which will be much more effective taken
together with other unions. As a result the National Shop Stewards
Network has taken the initiative to lobby the TUC conference on
in Brighton calling on them to co-ordinate a 24 hour public and
private sector strike against austerity.
encourage every member, rep, branch and supporter to attend this
lobby. So far the NSSN has lobbied the TUC every step of the way for
a national demonstration against the cuts in 2010, for co-ordinated
public sector strike action in 2011 and now for a national strike in
2012. Each lobby has helped channel the mood for action from millions
of workers and encouraged and/or pressured the trade union
leaderships to take further action.
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