Teachers plan more strikes over job cuts

TEACHERS at an academy school are to take further industrial action after last week s walk out over nine compulsory redundancies was heralded a success. Students were given the day-off when Crest Boys Academy, in Crest Road, Neasden, formerly John Kelly b

TEACHERS at an academy school are to take further industrial action after last week's walk out over nine compulsory redundancies was heralded a success.

Students were given the day-off when Crest Boys Academy, in Crest Road, Neasden, formerly John Kelly boys' school, was closed last Wednesday, April 21, after almost the entire teaching staff joined the strike.

Shane Johnschwager, Brent secretary for teachers' union, NASUWT, said: "There was an excellent turn out for the protest; the majority of teachers came down for the demonstration and they wanted their voice to be heard."

Staff are angry after being promised there would be no job-losses when academy sponsor, E-ACT, took over the school. And the mood among staff has hardened since revelations of exorbitant wages and expense abuses by management at E-ACT came to light.


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Hank Roberts, Brent secretary for teachers' unions, ATL and NUT, said: "Staff are particularly annoyed where E-ACT are saying they can't afford to keep staff on when it has been revealed that the person who runs

E-ACT is being paid around �300,000 including pension and bonuses.

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"There is also deep concern about the question of staying in luxury hotels, mini-bars and hiring �250 taxis."

But E-ACT said it is a respected sponsor whose only priority is to improve its students' life-chances.

Hywel Jarman, communications director at E-ACT, said: "We are entirely open about our approach and finances. Our accounts are externally audited, reviewed by DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families) and submitted to the charity commission."

E-ACT said they are still willing to meet with the unions, but criticised the action in the lead-up to the exam period.

Mr Jarman said: "The unions' use of industrial action in the lead up to important exams demonstrates that pupils' interests come way down their list of priorities."

Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, cancelled a planned visit to the academy with a spokesman blaming air restrictions caused by the volcanic ash-cloud.

But Mr Roberts said: "We were told he cancelled it because the boys' school is on strike. A lot of those (domestic) flights aren't even in the ban."

The unions met with their members last Friday and agreed to take further action at a date still to be confirmed.

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