Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/587/7528
The Socialist 7 July 2009 |
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First strike against Trust schools
On 2 July, teachers at Norlington Boys secondary school in Waltham Forest, East London went on strike - the first strike in the country against Trust status. The school was completely closed for the day. Robert Corby, NUT rep at the school, spoke to Linda Taaffe.
"We have been forced to take this action because we are angry that the school is being handed over to a Trust, and taken out of local authority control.
Two other schools and ours are being closed and merged into a huge 3-18 school, with a new school to be built on very precious green space, the local cricket ground.
The Labour council has not taken into account the needs of boys' education. Now there will be no single sex boys' school in the borough, yet there is one for girls.
They have not properly consulted with us the staff, doing only the bare minimum, keeping to the letter of the law but definitely not the spirit. They have not consulted properly with the local community. I would be very surprised if many of them even know about it.
Even the Trust 'partner', the Institute of Education - a college specialising in teacher training! - has done nothing to consult their lecturers and students. The UCU, the lecturers' union, are opposed to the idea of privatising education in any form - academies or trusts.
We believe that there is no educational merit at all in this Labour Party policy of handing schools over to Trusts, just political expediency. We think Trusts reinforce the lack of local democracy and actually remove choice for parents and pupils.
But now we have got the ball rolling, we are not going to stop. We have already forced them to delay the start. It was scheduled for 1 September.
Also Unison is balloting its members in the school, so the next strike is likely to be joint action. This means we can really step up the action with further strike days, even in the new term."