Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/666/11759
Striking against a Coventry academy
Strike action at Tile Hill Woods school (THW) in Coventry has been stepped up against plans to turn the school into an academy. 20 teachers' union NUT members were on strike a few weeks ago and on 5 April, 70 out of a total of 80 school staff were on strike.
There was also talk of coordinated strike action with other schools facing the threat of academies, and with other unions who represent education staff, such as Unison.
There was a swarm of NASUWT blue caps, tabards, whistles and hand clackers, helping to create a great atmosphere of solidarity between the strikers from NUT and NASUWT unions.
Coventry Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist gave his support at the picket line. He informed the teachers of how he was fighting for the council to fund a ballot for parents and teachers to have their say on academies.
Many of the teachers were disgusted at the lack of consultation they have had. The decision was taken by an unrepresentative vote of 13 out of 16 governors, with no consultation from staff or parents.
Teachers see the decision to push through academies as a threat to comprehensive education, and the democratic and public accountability of schools to the community and staff.
The arguments used to defend the plans for the academies, such as the need for local authorities to save money and there being no alternative, were ridiculed.
As the recent u-turns taken by the Con-Dems indicate, there is always an alternative. Collective industrial action and community campaigns can force the hands of those in power.
In The Socialist 13 April 2011:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Youth Fight for Jobs
Socialist Party news and analysis