A primary school will close for six days as part of strike action in protest against it being forced into an academy.

There has been an uproar from parents, staff and the Brent National Education Union (NEU) over plans for Byron Court Primary School in North Wembley to join the Harris Federation as an academy.

A forced academisation order was given by the Department for Education (DfE) in line with government policy over schools given an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating.

But now NEU members at the school are set to strike in a fight to save their school, with a picket line outside the school planned this Friday (May 17) from 7.30am to 9.30am.

Other planned strike days are on May 21 and 22 as well as June 4, 5, and 6.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Save Byron Court campaigners outside the school in MarchSave Byron Court campaigners outside the school in March (Image: Save Byron Court)

The NEU says that some staff fear for their mental health and their futures if the school becomes an academy.

Many of these staff served the school’s community throughout the pandemic and the union says they face uncertainty over jobs, pay and conditions as they face a takeover by the Harris multi-academy trust.

Staff are asking for a reinspection, handled fairly and proportionately, while a live complaint lodged with Ofsted is being looked at externally.

The school had dropped from an ‘outstanding’ grade in 2012 to its current rating after an inspection by the school watchdog in November last year.

And despite mass protests outside the school and a councillors letter addressed to the Secretary of State for Schools to “pause the academisation process” – the Department for Education said it will be pressing on with the move.

Jenny Cooper of the NEU national executive has stated: “These striking members undertake difficult jobs every day and have the expertise and knowledge that should be valued in our schools."

Stating there had been no consultation with any stakeholder, she added she did not believe academisation was the right move.

She added: “The NEU will not  accept privatisation of our schools through a politicised Ofsted process which is what we are seeing.”