East London school rejects ‘academisation’

Linda Taaffe, Waltham Forest NUT (personal capacity)

Parents, governors and teachers have all proclaimed a definite “No” to converting their school Thomas Gamuel Primary in Walthamstow, East London to an academy.

The school, that is located in the middle of a big housing estate with all the inner city problems of poverty, has come under pressure to convert in the coalition’s drive to hive off state assets.

After an initial vote of governors not to proceed at that moment, a consultation exercise was carried out. Often this is no more than a token nod in the direction of democracy.

In this case around 70 parents turned up for a presentation from both sides – and were not at all impressed with the suits! Then a poll was organised to gauge parents’ attitudes. The result was 168 against and six for. Success!

However, this will probably not be the end of the story. The next step could be for Gove’s Department for Education to apply pressure from the top.

They might try to throw out existing governors, many of whom have served in that capacity for many years.

Then they would unceremoniously replace them with a more cooperative ‘interim board’, who will take the decision to convert.

However, with the teachers in NUT prepared to strike, the parents up in arms, and governors well unhappy, we reckon the campaign will be starting from a good platform to fight Gove’s academy stormtroopers!