STRIKING teachers at Kingsbury High School in north-west London were joined on the picket line by parents and students yesterday morning as they showed that they were not prepared to accept the school being turned into an Academy.
The 24-hour strike by NUT and NASUWT members at the school resulted in its total closure yesterday, ahead of last night’s meeting of the Board of Governors, where a decision was to be taken over turning the school into an Academy.
Pickets told News Line how determined they were to defeat the move.
Thorsten Nilsson, NASUWT member and PE teacher, said: ‘I don’t like to see our contracts being worsened. There’s no written guarantee that my conditions of service are not going to be worsened.
‘We’ve got relatively good conditions which were achieved in the 1980s and I don’t want them worsened.
‘Also, as a society, we have a duty to educate people in a way that you can fit in and the National Curriculum does that.
‘But there is nothing to say that an Academy wouldn’t be able to come up with quirky ideas, specifically creationism, and educate children in that.
‘This struggle will go on. You have to put your foot down.
‘These are international companies coming in to run Academies and they are coming in to make a profit.’
Dave Cooper, a Kingsbury parent and governor of a feeder primary school, said: ‘I don’t feel the parents have been properly consulted.
‘We should have been given a yes-no ballot, which has been refused.
‘They shouldn’t be going ahead until they know what the majority of parents want.
‘This is the first staff strike action, the first parenting protest, but it’s not the first student action.
‘The students have already taken their own action, refusing to attend lessons on the last day of last term.’
Year 11 student David told News Line: ‘We told people the day before the last day of last term and we told people on Facebook and some people gave out leaflets and most people from Year 10 stayed out.
‘The head came out and spoke to us and invited us into a meeting with him in the hall.
‘But he just came out with the same old stuff.
‘We fully support the teachers and we won’t accept the school becoming an Academy.’
Hank Roberts told the assembled pickets: ‘We can save state education if we are determined enough.
‘It took over a century to build up and they are trying to dismantle it in a matter of a few years.
‘They want to go back to a private system but their time is limited and their days are numbered.’
Geoff Williams, an NUT member, told News Line: ‘You’ve got an overwhelming majority of staff opposed to this school becoming an Academy.
‘The earliest possible conversion date is December 1st, but the decision is being made by the governors this evening.
‘The consultation has been totally inadequate.
‘Students have made clear that they are against it in their student council and parliament meetings.
‘The parent governors are against it.
‘We had a public meeting and there as a unanimous decision against becoming an Academy.
‘We are determined to fight it all the way.’