Kingsbury High School teachers strike over academy plans

Staff stage industrial action against controversial changes

Teachers hit back against controversial plans to convert their school into an academy by staging a walkout today (Thursday).

Staff, pupils and parents from Kingsbury High School in Princes Avenue, Kingsbury, donned placards and banners at the colourful protest outside its gates.

The industrial action resulted in the school being closed for the day – allowing pupils to swap their classrooms for a day in the sun.

Jeremy Waxman said the school had no choice but to become an academy to avert a funding crisis.

Hank Roberts, Brent Secretary for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, who organised the strike declared the protest a success.

He said: “The fact that the school was closed showed that Mr Waxman (head teacher) is worried about how serious we are.”

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“I believe the school was frightened and that by allowing pupils and other teachers to attend, they would realise how seriously we are against these plans.”

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is calling for a ballot so that parents can put forward their views on the controversial plans.

Mr Roberts continued: “We have continually stated that should parents be allowed a ballot, as the teachers were, then we will call off any further action.”

The school has previously offered to undertake a survey to gage the opinions of parents, however Mr Roberts criticised the idea.

He said: “A ballot is far more efficient way of finding out what parents really think.”

“We (the NUT) have offered to pay for an independently overseen ballot for parents; I don’t think you can get much fairer than that.”

“If they continue to ignore our requests then we will be forced to take further action.”

Mr Waxman said: “There are two alternatives: Academy status with its additional resources and our commitment to staff on conditions of service or a slow decline in the provision the school offers and the loss of a significant number of posts.”

Councillor, Mary Arnold, Lead member for children and families called the plans ‘short sighted’, she added: “As a school with a high community profile you would expect the views of the staff and parents at Kingsbury High to be paramount, and the governors should take them on board.”