‘JOHN Roan Resists!’ is the battle cry of 1,200 pupils, their parents and 60 teachers who are in an escalating struggle to stop their council-run school, one of the oldest in the country being forced to become a privately-run academy.
Teachers at the school in Greenwich, south-east London, who belong to the National Education Union (NEU), walked out on Wednesday for their eighth day of strike action. Teachers, pupils and parents are fighting plans to strip the 335-year-old school from local authority control and force it to become an academy run by the University Schools Trust.
Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: ‘The groundswell of opposition from parents and teachers across the country … is testament to the fact that the academy bubble has been popped.’
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition and 300 families from the school have written to the chair of governors opposing the move. They want the academy order revoked.
The letter says: ‘We all agree that the school has already seen improvements – we should be allowed to continue to work together without the disruption that academisation would bring.’
Kirstie Paton, a social sciences teacher and union representative, has worked at the school for 18 years. She said: ‘We are concerned an academy trust will come in and destroy the inclusive nature of the school and narrow the curriculum.’
The NEU says that ‘John Roan Resists’ is one of a growing number of campaigns bringing together parents and teachers to prevent their school being forcibly turned into an academy.