Strike action over forced academy conversion


Members of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, took strike action at a primary school in Birmingham over controversial plans to force the school into becoming an academy.

Governors at Montgomery Primary School, in Sparkbrook, have backed proposals to remove it from local authority control and seek an external sponsor. Some parents at the school said they had not been consulted properly.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “Parents, teachers and the local community are united in their opposition to the imposition of academy status on the school.

“Any change to the status of a school should be about raising standards.

“Results at the school are already improving and there is no evidence that academies raise standards.

“This deeply unpopular plan is completely unjustified.

“There is no doubt that Montgomery is a victim of the fact that the majority of schools do not see any benefit in academy status and, therefore, the Secretary of State has resorted to a policy of bullying and coercion.”

The Department for Education said becoming an academy was the "right course" for Montgomery Primary, which has about 700 pupils and employs 150 staff.

It said: "Sponsored Academy status will give the school the impetus it needs to raise standards and help pupils meet the national standards for literacy and numeracy.

"Academies have already turned around hundreds of struggling secondary schools across the country and are improving their results at twice the national average rate."

Montgomery primary is one of 200 schools across the country that the government claim are performing poorly and are being encouraged to seek academy status. The schools have been identified based on Key Stage Two Sats results between 2004 and 2009.

Compared with state schools, academies have more control over finances, their curriculum and other areas such as term dates. They also do not need to follow national agreements over pay and conditions for teachers.