Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Teachers to strike over academy row

Teachers at a school resisting academy status are set to go on strike, it has been revealed.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said it is to ballot members at Downhills Primary School in Haringey, north London, for action this summer. The dispute is over potential changes to staff pay and conditions if the school does become an academy.

The NUT said an indicative survey of 22 members working at the school had shown support for strikes, and that they now intended to ballot for sustained action.

NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said: "Where academy conversions are threatened we do, from time to time, agree to ballot our members for a trade dispute against the change in employer because of the threat to pay and conditions that's implied by the change in employer.

"It is not a ballot for strike action against the Government's policy of forced academies. It's about a ballot for strike action about the change of employer that the forced academies leads to."

He added: "Politically we're completely opposed to forced academies, we're supporting the parents campaign at Downhills, this is a trade dispute around a different and narrower question about the transfer of employment."

Downhills was placed in special measures earlier this year after being declared inadequate in an Ofsted inspection ordered by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

The Department for Education maintained that the school, which was last placed in special measures in 2002, had struggled to obtain the required standards for years and that the independent inspection was necessary. It has told Downhills that it must become an academy.

Since the latest Ofsted inspection, the headteacher, Leslie Church has resigned, and a new interim governing body has been appointed.

Academies are semi-independent state schools that receive funding directly, rather than through a local authority, and have more freedom over areas such as pay and conditions and the curriculum.


From Belfast Telegraph