Staff at Wembley secondary school to strike over academy plans
- Credit: Archant
Workers at Preston Manor All Through Foundation School will walk out next Wednesday
Staff at a Wembley school will stage a mass walkout in protest at plans to convert to the government’s controversial academy status.
Teachers and staff at Preston Manor All Through Foundation School will take action on January 23 and could stage further walkouts if negotiations are unsuccessful.
Staff at the school in Carlton Avenue East are unhappy at the proposed decision to become a Co-operative Academy. In a secret ballot, 85 per cent voted against the conversion.
In addition, 94 per cent of staff voted in favour of taking strike action.
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The ballot, which had a 76 per cent response rate, also revealed that only four members of staff were against striking.
Adopting academy status is often controversial as it results in a school breaking away from local authority control. Instead they are held directly accountable to Education Secretary Michael Gove.
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Critics claim it is a form of privatisation and that other schools suffer as a result.
In a letter to staff and parents, Brent’s teaching unions say they have “grave concerns” over the increase in academies.
The letter says: “There is no evidence to show that becoming an academy would raise educational standards.
“Rather, we are convinced that, in the long term it will be to reverse and lower them.”
Jean Roberts, secretary of Brent Teachers Association, said: “None of our members wants to go on strike and we are hoping to negotiate with governors to at least postpone the process.
“Currently the school is a co-operative trust school, supposedly run on a democratic basis.
“The governors are not following the co-op values they and the staff agreed to.
“We, therefore, are asking the governors to heed the democratic vote and not convert. People clearly voted against an academy.”
Headteacher Matthew Lantos told the Times that governors believe the decision to convert represents “the best course of action for current and future pupils.”
He added: “During the consultation period some staff expressed concerns about the possible impact on their terms and conditions.
“The governors are committed to working closely with school and local representatives to provide the necessary reassurances to avoid the need for industrial action.”