The Socialist

The Socialist 3 January 2018

Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty¬Ömake the fat cats pay

The Socialist issue 976

2018: more upheavals loom


Tory prescription for mental illness: stress and bureaucracy

The Socialist inbox


Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

Mobilise against rip-off executive pay

Rail: fares up, bosses' pay up - delays and cancellations up

Thousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

Heart unit rescued by campaigning saves baby with pioneering surgery

NHS in winter crisis as Branson creams off £1bn


Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

Housing victory for Sussex students

Leeds: temporary reprieve for playing fields

Bradford protest against children's service cuts

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition conference


Equal sick pay rights for staff at Charlton Park Academy

Newham: school strike solid against academy

Fire service victory

Leeds college pay protests


Catalan elections: PP humiliated

 
 
 
 
 

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Newham: school strike solid as bosses barge through on academy status

Pickets at Avenue School, 14.12.17, photo by James Ivens

Pickets at Avenue School, 14.12.17, photo by James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

James Ivens, East London Socialist Party

Avenue School was in near-total shutdown on 14 December, its second strike day in opposition to becoming a quasi-privatised 'academy'.

Dozens of teachers, learning support assistants (LSAs), parents and children filled the pavement outside the east London primary. The energy of strikers and campaigners shows no sign of flagging.

National Education Union (NEU) rep Louise Cuffaro, a member of the Socialist Party, is leading the action. NEU members in Newham have just elected her their new branch secretary.

Pickets at Avenue School, 14.12.17, photo by James Ivens

Pickets at Avenue School, 14.12.17, photo by James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

Louise had been at recent negotiations with management. "We got the LSAs in the room, we won that. Management hadn't wanted them in there because they don't have negotiating rights. But we pointed out that there's not anything to negotiate on here. They want the school to become an academy. We don't. There's no middle ground."

Louise also reported that staff at other schools in the borough have contacted her. They are discussing joining the fight against forced academisation.

Lobby of the Avenue School governors' meeting, 14.12.17, photo by James Ivens

Lobby of the Avenue School governors' meeting, 14.12.17, photo by James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

That evening staff and parents lobbied a meeting of the school's governors. A union delegation led by Louise went in to argue on behalf of the staff and parents. A consultation of staff and parents found well over 100 oppose academisation. The number in favour was in single digits.

Consultants for the 'Eko' academy trust claimed only a minority oppose academisation - because the turnout was under 50%! "This is a travesty of democracy," said Louise.

Lobby of the Avenue School governors' meeting, 14.12.17, photo by James Ivens

Lobby of the Avenue School governors' meeting, 14.12.17, photo by James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

Opposition from parents and staff is overwhelming. Campaigners are demanding that governors put the decision to a ballot. But management seems determined to push the new status through.

A consultant for the academy chain even took this attitude to the demonstration outside the meeting. After peaceful protesters surrounded his enormous car, they witnessed him barging it into one of them. After the protester crumpled to the ground, the consultant got out and laughed, seeming to think the whole affair was a joke.

The scene after an academy consultant apparently barged his car into a peaceful protester, photo by James Ivens

The scene after an academy consultant apparently barged his car into a peaceful protester, photo by James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

Action will continue in the new year.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 21 December 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.


In this issue


New Year statement

2018: more upheavals loom


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Tory prescription for mental illness: stress and bureaucracy

The Socialist inbox


Socialist Party news and analysis

Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

Mobilise against rip-off executive pay

Rail: fares up, bosses' pay up - delays and cancellations up

Thousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

Heart unit rescued by campaigning saves baby with pioneering surgery

NHS in winter crisis as Branson creams off £1bn


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

Housing victory for Sussex students

Leeds: temporary reprieve for playing fields

Bradford protest against children's service cuts

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition conference


Socialist Party workplace news

Equal sick pay rights for staff at Charlton Park Academy

Newham: school strike solid against academy

Fire service victory

Leeds college pay protests


International socialist news and analysis

Catalan elections: PP humiliated


 

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