Staff at Montgomery Primary in Birmingham struck today against the proposal to turn their school into an academy. NUT, NASUWT and GMB members struck for the second time, closing the school again. They had previously struck in December.
The picket line was even bigger than last time with 100 people there, swelled by parents and pupils. the mood of determination is clear to see from the videos below. Both staff and parents recognise that turning the school into an academy is not what will improve the school, but more support and resources are needed. The school is at the heart of the community and becoming a sponsored academy could mean the school being run by a chain with no local knowledge, links or accountability.
The mood on the picket line was excellent. Chanting and singing ran through the morning and passing motorists tooted support. Pupils from the school sang the Downhills School song.
The governors have voted to continue to seek a sponsor despite requests from the unions for further negotiations. The parents have handed in a 700 strong petition calling for a proper consultation meeting but have so far been ignored. It is clear that if there was a parental consultation it would be overwhelmingly against becoming an academy.
The headteacher and majority of the governors believe that if they refuse to become an academy Michael Gove will send in Ofsted and fail the school. This is what Gove is relying on – bullying schools into becoming academies. The determination showed by the staff and parents in Montgomery school in Birmingham and Downhills School in Haringey show that there is alternative to this.
The SaveMontgomery School campaign have called a public meeting on Thursday 26th January with Roger Godsiff MP, Kevin Courtney NUT deputy general secretary, Anne Brimacombe NASUWT executive and parent campaigners.