Three unions in four Lewisham schools took another day of strike action on Weds (25th March), stepping up their action in protest at the academisation of their schools. The picket lines were lively and strong and strikers went and delivered leaflets to local primary school parents.
The Chair of Governors’ letter to staff on February 12 said they had “been advised to postpone consultation until after the general election.” But they decided to press ahead with the “consultation” anyway. Unions had offered to postpone this week’s two-day strike, but they were left with little choice but to take the action.
Governors are still refusing demands for a parental ballot, so Lewisham Council should be pressed to carry out this basic democratic demand.
The strike was well supported at all three schools, with nearly 60 staff, parents and students on the picket line at Prendergast’s Hillyfields site. They then spread out to distribute leaflets in the local community.
A GMB member said “We need to escalate the public action like Saturday’s march through Lewisham.”
A teacher said “Staff don’t trust the governors and the executive head, David Sheppard, and don’t believe their promises. They are not interested in the opposition of the staff, parents and students. Many staff have worked at the school for over 15 years, and we have devoted our lives to it. We care about the students’ education – why damage it? The governors accuse us being ideological – but so are they! They want even greater autonomy, and we don’t want them to have it.
Luke, a 6th form student, said the campaign is on a whole new level since the parents and students came together with the teachers. We don’t want an academy because it’s back door privatisation. This is a 125 year contract with a private company and that has implications for students in the future. Our protests are getting bigger and better, students are getting inspired and engaged in politics.
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