Alperton Community School stays open as staff go on strike

Staff walk out over plans to convert school into an academy

The headteacher of a secondary school being turned into an academy has come out fighting over the plans as her teachers and staff strike today (Thursday).

Alperton Community School is open despite 60 members of staff not turning up to teach students.

Some formed a picket line outside both its buildings in Stanley Avenue and Ealing Road, Alperton.

The strikers are unhappy after the governing body voted last week to convert the school from September.

Under strict rules, only six members of staff are allowed to picket outside a school no matter how many are taking part in industrial action.

Maggie Rafee, headteacher, said: “The strike did not cause any major disruption.

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“I am sad the National Union of Teachers (NUT) cannot see the benefits to students and staff of Alperton becoming an academy with co-operative values and hope to revert back to good industrial relations as soon as possible.”

Mrs Rafee said the governing body would still control the budget with close working relationships with the school’s partners Brent Council and the College of North West London.

She added: “I am resistant to the kind of academy Mr Gove wants. And I am philosophically and professionally opposed to private companies being involved. We have done this to protect Alperton from any forced changes. We will continue to be an outstanding school which has judged outstanding by Ofsted and be committed to protecting the terms and conditions of teachers and our staff. Very little will change which is why I struggle to see the reason for the NUT taking this stance.”

Martin Allen, a Brent officer with the NUT, said: “There is opposition among staff to academies and with how decisions have been made. There’s no evidence academies benefit students.

“We feel the consultation process at Alperton has been imposed rather than discussed.”

Hank Roberts, joint secretary of the Brent Teachers Association who claims 60 staff went on strike at Alperton, said: “It was a successful strike with hardly any pupils or teachers turning up. We are seeking a resolution with the head teacher. Our members voted for industrial action in a ballot which means we do not need another one to take further action.”