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The Village School closed for day as placard-bearing teachers rally against academy plans

PUBLISHED: 16:47 14 December 2017

Placard-bearing protestors gathered around the gates of Kingsbury's The Village School this morning. Photo by Brent NEU

Placard-bearing protestors gathered around the gates of Kingsbury's The Village School this morning. Photo by Brent NEU

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The Village School was closed today (Thursday) after around 70 placard-bearing Kingsbury teachers went on strike outside the school gates.

Placard-bearing protestors gathered around the gates of Kingsbury's The Village School this morning. Photo by Brent NEU Placard-bearing protestors gathered around the gates of Kingsbury's The Village School this morning. Photo by Brent NEU

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) were protesting for two hours this morning against the Grove Park’s school decision to explore the idea of joining with Woodfield School and forming a multi academy trust.

The school, which will be open tomorrow (Friday), has insisted that a “final decision” will not be made until after further consultation with staff and parents at both schools – both of which have been under the stewardship of executive headteacher Kay Charles since September.

Prior to the strike, a school spokesman had described strike action as “regrettable” and “unnecessary given that both governing bodies have stated their intention to retain national and local terms and conditions of employment.”

A spokesman for the NEU, which had several representatives speaking at the rally, said. “There was a very determined mood among the crowd to prevent this privatisation of our brilliant Brent school. There was singing to keep us warm and lots of passing cars and buses tooted to show support. There was also a winner of the best placard and then the NEU hosted breakfast at a nearby cafe.”

Placard-bearing protestors gathered around the gates of Kingsbury's The Village School this morning. Photo by Brent NEU Placard-bearing protestors gathered around the gates of Kingsbury's The Village School this morning. Photo by Brent NEU

As well as its ‘flying colours’ inspection rating, the NEU has described the school as a ‘flagship school’ for the council, due to its ‘state-of’the-art art building and ‘innovative approach to CPD (Continuing Professional Development).

Earlier this week Cllr Jumbo Chan, Labour representative for Kensal Green and chairman of the Teachers’ Joint Consultative Committee, told the Kilburn Times “it would be a huge retrograde step if such a local valuable asset on which much taxpayers’ money and time has been spent was to be lost forever”.

A spokesman for the school, rated “outstanding” by regulatory body Ofsted in its latest inspection, said: “The exploration is focused upon whether a multi academy trust would enable the schools to achieve more for their pupils than they already do. This is taking place at a time of significant challenges for schools, including financial pressures and competition to recruit and retain high quality staff.”

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