Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/782/17511
The Socialist 2 October 2013 |
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The fight against academies in Leicester
Simon Robinson, Leicester NUT, personal capacity
Rushey Mead School is a large secondary school in Leicester. It has been an 'outstanding' school for years and has strong links to the local community.
It is also a brand new school building, one of the last few to get this funding before the government pulled the plug.
Leicester is still a relatively academy free city. So it came as a shock to staff, students and parents when school management announced last year that the school would be 'exploring' the idea of converting into an academy.
Angry teachers met immediately and agreed to send a message of opposition to the governors. Over 80 letters were sent to the next governors' meeting, only to be ignored! The Rushey Mead anti-academy campaign was therefore launched with the aim of organising staff, parents and students.
The NUT spent the summer break campaigning, leafleting festivals and local housing. We are now in the middle of the 'consultation' period, ending early in October.
A successful meeting of parents and staff - past and present - heard the Leicester City council education leaders and the Mayor voice their opposition to the academy and fully support the campaign!
Various reasons for the plans are given - financial advantages, being able to 'support' failing schools and other 'freedoms' are quoted at us. The reality is that the school management see the future of the school as an academy 'business' - already a Teaching School, it will oversee a 'family' of primaries and even larger schools while selling services and support.
The 'Executive Head' of a local academy, Ash Field Academy, David Bateson OBE, is also on the management board of Rushey Mead Teaching School.
Ash Field became an academy 18 months ago and has just unveiled a new pay and conditions policy that dismantles everything that the NUT and other unions have won within Leicester City.
There is no doubt that this will be the future for staff at Rushey Mead should it become an academy!
We demand that the school stays within the local authority. Gove sees Leicester as a thorn in the side of his academy strategy - we refuse to let him get a foot in the door of the city!