Over 30 people packed on to the picket lines on each day of the strike action, including local Labour Councillors. Members of Unison and other trade unions joined the picket lines in solidarity and support from the passing public was tremendous.
Cllr Andrea Oates said:
“It’s important that schools stay within the local authority family of schools and don’t become academies. Also this isn’t just about Kimberley we are also fighting academy status in other schools in Broxtowe.”
A meeting of strikers was held after the picket and following serious debate members resolved unanimously to escalate the action in the event of the school management failing to engage in any form of serious consultation about the proposal to move to academy status.
Below local Labour Councillors Andrea Oates and Andy Cooper explain why they support the striking teachers.
Nottinhamshire NUT said they had “asked the Governors to delay the decision until after the exam period as we felt it was not allowing time to focus on our priorities, but despite our concerns they have forced us into this position at the most important time for our exam students.”
The strike at Kimberley reflects growing concern about what academy status represents at the school and beyond. The support from local councillors shows that academies are increasingly unpopular in Nottingham and the campaigners are demanding that new academies are halted, with all existing academies returned to local authority control.
The move to academy status is not part of a wider increase in funding for education in Nottinghamshire so campaigners are concerned that if there is extra money for Kimberley School it is likely to be at the expense of other schools and their students.
With a powerful strike and a mandate to escalate action, Nottinghamshire NUT have made it very clear where they stand on the issue of academies:
“The bottom line is that neither NUT members at Kimberley School nor Nottinghamshire Division NUT believe that academy status will enhance teaching and learning. It will not help children, it certainly won’t help retain teachers and it is not right for this community. Academy status is not wanted or needed at Kimberley School.”