The importance of union organisation, even where schools become academies, was underlined by the successful resistance at Crest Girls Academy in Brent, north London this summer.
In February the academy announced that 22 jobs would be cut at the school, due to a drop in student numbers and lower funding. Unions tried to negotiate with management, but to no avail – when schools become academies managements often assume they can do whatever they want. Not in this case however, as the teaching unions NUT, ATL and NASUWT got together and voted overwhelmingly for strike action on 11 May.
E-ACT, the charity which runs the school, called off the compulsory redundancies just before the strike day, and has returned to negotiations.
At Tile Hill Wood school in Coventry, resistance to plans for an academy continues. NUT members have staged three strike days against the plans, with local people expressing their anger that the project is to be pushed through without consultation or discussion. ■