Teachers Protest Against Plans To Turn School Into Academy
Teachers at a Birmingham secondary school have planned to stage a strike today, forcing the school to close.
The walkout by members of the ATL, NASUWT and NUT unions at Small Heath School was organised in protest against plans to turn the troubled school into an academy.
The school, which remained unscathed during the Trojan Horse scandal, was forced into special measures in January by the education watchdog Ofsted.
Inspectors downgraded the school from “outstanding” to “inadequate” after discovering that “tensions” existed within the leadership team which were “damaging the school’s progress and capacity to improve”.
The school’s interim executive board, instated to ensure that the school made improvements, had been unable to calm fears that the school would be converted into an academy by the end of the year, leading to strike action being taken by the teachers.
A joint statement by the unions said: “After much deliberation, and with a great deal of regret, members of three teaching unions, ATL, NASUWT and NUT, at Small Heath School have taken the difficult decision to take strike action in opposition to the school’s proposed conversion to academy status and consequential threat to terms and conditions.
“Members of these unions believe they have been given no alternative but to take strike action after the Cchair of the IEB failed to give assurances that academisation would not take place before the end of Autumn Term 2015, a period of time that ATL, NASUWT and NUT members believe is critically required to allow for the initiatives of new management personnel and new improvement strategies to take effect.
“Members of ATL, NASUWT and NUT are also opposed to the school becoming an academy as they believe this would not be in the best interests of pupils and they reject the notion that turning the school into an academy is the answer to current difficulties.
“There is clear evidence that the education provision and pupil progress do not improve simply because a school converts to academy status and Small Heath School would be no different in this regard.
“ATL, NASUWT and NUT members are totally committed to providing the best educational provision possible for all pupils of Small Heath School and it is as a result of their hard work and dedication over many years that the school has been graded as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted on five consecutive occasions in recent years.
“They now call on the Local Authority to provide the necessary support to allow the school to become ‘outstanding’ once again.”