THERE was a lively and colourful picket of The Village School in Kingsbury North West London yesterday morning, where 150 National Education Union (NEU) members are fighting academisation.
The three-day strike continues today and tomorrow, with strikers picketing the special needs school from 7.30-9am each morning. Virtually every passing car hooted in support of the picket and the strikers were in determined mood to defeat the forced academisation of the school for children with special needs.
NEU member Anna Chapple told News Line: ‘I’m in principle against academisation and never wanted to work in an academy. The whole issue of schools not being accountable to the local authority but instead being run with business principles in mind is very unhealthy. I’m a music teacher here and we have children with many disabilities, both physical and mental. Academisation is privatisation and has no place here.’
Jenny Cooper, NEU Rep for The Village School, said: ‘The governors are deciding whether to go ahead with academisation and whether to go into a multi-academy trust on 28th February. We’ve got around 150 members in the school. 98% voted to strike against academisation and we’ve also had a 400% rise in membership since this struggle started. We’ve got a very special relationship with our parents and we have significant support from them. We are very solid and determined.’
NEU member Rizwana said: ‘Academies are just a subsidised business, not for the benefit of the students or staff. All the unions should get together to defeat academisation.’ Other strikers who did not want to be named, said: ‘We don’t want to be an academy. We are happy as we are. We are fighting to win. It will change our pay, salary, working hours and will affect children. No-one will work with those pay and conditions. When they cut the budget the children will be harmed.’
Another NEU member, said: ‘I joined the union six weeks ago to fight against academisation.
‘I’ve joined the NEU. I think academisation will affect the needs of the children. They’ll cut down on staff. The unions can and must defeat academisation.’