Pupils protest over plans to turn Kingsbury school into an academy

Youths skipped morning lessons to hand out leaflets opposing proposal

Hundreds of pupils stood together in unity and protested against their school becoming an academy today (Friday).

Instead of going to their morning lessons, the youngsters from Kingsbury High School in Princes Avenue, Kingsbury, formed a united front in the playground where they rallied and handed out leaflets for more than an hour.

Jeremy Waxman, the school’s headteacher, was forced to go out to protesters himself where he called a meeting in the school hall on what was the last day of term before the summer holidays.

Last week, governors voted for the secondary school to become an academy despite 80 per cent of staff opposing the plans.

One of the pupils, who asked not to be named, who took part in the demonstration said: “We all went into school but when the bell went everyone stayed in the playground.

“We stayed there for about an hour and students handed out leaflets.

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“A meeting was called by the headteacher at 11.30am which we attended but we don’t feel our questions were answered properly.”

Pupils believe the school will lose good teachers if it becomes an academy.

The youngster added: “We don’t think academy status will benefit us. It can affect teachers pay and conditions and we don’t want our good teachers to leave. Funding isn’t guaranteed. Letters have been going to parents which are very one-sided.”

Last summer, Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, welcomed all schools to become academies.

Kingsbury High School says it wants academy status because it says it faces a drop in student funding.

A concerned parent, who wished not to be named, said: “I am very much against the government’s agenda and Kingsbury High School’s plans to become an academy.

“There are a large group of parents who are against it. Staff and pupils are against it. We have been completely ignored.

“I feel very proud of the kids protested today and stood up for what they believe in.”

Teaching unions are now threatening industrial action.

Hank Roberts, ATL and NUT secretary, said: “The pupils today, brilliantly, showed that they are against the school becoming an academy.

“How can the head ignore the fact that staff, parents and pupils are against it? The views of parents and pupils need to be assessed. It is an outrage to just ignore them. They are the school.”