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29 May 2012
No to Kingsthorpe Academy! No to more school privatisations!
This headline was just one of the placards outside the school gates on 23 May when teachers in the NUT were on strike to stop Kingsthorpe College in Northampton becoming an academy.
I spoke to Gordon White, NUT County Secretary on the picket line:
"The transfer from Local Authority control was announced a month ago. Consultation with the union, staff, parents and students only happened after the decision had already been taken to transfer the school to the collaborative Academy Trust branch - Edison.
"Edison was booted out of schools in the United States for costing more than the public school system where it operated, despite claiming they would be cheaper and still make a profit.
"They also claimed that they would improve educational standards, but failed to do so. Yet this profit-motivated provider is good enough for Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove".
Gordon went on to say: "If this really was a consultation period, why haven't the governors met with the union before the strike took place? The aim of the strike is for the governors to withdraw the application and to consider other options; they are not being forced into this.
"The union will gauge the support of its members before deciding the next step, but so far the membership have been prepared to stand up to privatisations".
There is no evidence that becoming an Academy can improve schools but there is widespread belief that Michael Gove wants to privatise all schools, use Academies to attack pay and conditions for staff and allow Academy providers to make profits out of schools.
The fight must continue, not just for the staff of Kingsthorpe College but for all of us; not just to defend our schools and our NHS but all public services against cuts and privatisation which will reduce services, and working conditions for those employed in them.
We can't afford to lose this fight. We must stand united to defeat this government and its friends who want to make even more profit, whilst making us pay for their crisis.
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