Second strike against academy plans for school in Willesden taking place today
PUBLISHED: 10:33 24 March 2015 | UPDATED: 12:57 24 March 2015
Teachers and parents from a primary school in Willesden chained themselves to railings during a second strike today over plans to convert to an academy.
The second walkout in a week at St Andrews and St Francis School C of E Primary in Belton Road, has been organised following claims it is being forced to change its status after it was placed under special measures after one visit by education watchdogs Ofsted last year.
Under government rules, special measure schools are forced by the Department for Education to convert to an academy.
This means the school is no longer under local authority control and instead it is funded by central government and given its own sponsors.
Union members and parents have organised a petition calling for Brent Council to halt the process however the town hall claims a consultation showed that a majority of people back the conversion.
Hank Roberts, secretary of the Association of Lecturers and teachers, said: “The so-called consultation was a farce. Only reasons why the school should become an academy were sent to parents with no information allowed to be sent to them with arguments against becoming an academy. “They know the vast majority of parents, when they are given the facts, are against. Parents and staff are standing firm to defend their children’s education.”
The first bout of industrial action took place last Wednesday and a third is scheduled for tomorrow.
A Brent Council spokesman said: “It is central government policy that schools in special measures become academies. Since this is inevitable, it is better that the future of the school is resolved speedily.
“We are aware that trade unions are against St Andrews and St Francis School becoming an academy, however it is important to note that the majority of parents who took part in a consultation earlier this year on the school becoming an academy, said that they were in favour of the proposal.”