Fear of strikes halts academy status plans at Sherington Primary School, Blackheath,

BY CALUM FRASER
calum@slpmedia.co.uk

Parents and teachers celebrated after a primary school governing board decided not to academise following threats of strike action by staff.

Parents and teachers at Sherington Primary School in Wyndcliff Road, Blackheath, launched a campaign to halt plans tabled by the governing body to convert the school, rated by Ofsted as Outstanding, into an academy.

A petition with more than 1,200 signatures opposing academisation was delivered to the board by Vicky Makepeace, who has two children at the school, before the group met on Wednesday, November 21 to discuss the proposals.

The board had planned to meet on November 30, but members of the National Education Union (NEU) delivered a letter threatening strike action on November 29 and the meeting was brought forward.

Tim Woodcock, NEU Greenwich divisional secretary, said: “We are completely ecstatic because Sherington Primary School deserves to be an LA (local authority) school.

We are over the moon and it is all down to a fantastic parents and teachers campaign and a willingness for teachers and support staff to take six days of strike action.”

The governing body published a planned timeline for talks with Leigh Academy Trust Compass Academy Trust in mid-September.

Scores of concerned parents met in Charlton House on September 27.

Greenwich and Woolwich MP Matthew Pennycook put his weight behind the campaign, writing a letter to parents and carers.

He wrote that he was “puzzled and concerned by the decision to review Sherington’s” status as a school run by Greenwich council.

Academy schools are state-funded schools in England which are directly funded by the Department for Education (DfE).

They do not have to follow the national curriculum. “Once a school converts and joins a MAT (multi-academy trust), it ceases to exist as a legal entity,” Mr Pennycook wrote.

“The trust’s board are the all decision-making authority henceforth. “Those on the outside, including parents and carers, have little say.”

Sherington released a statement on Thursday saying: “At an extraordinary meeting of Sherington’s Governing Board yesterday, governors voted unanimously to remain as a local authority maintained school.

“This has not been an easy process by any means, but it’s important that we are able to show our Sherington children that we can have difficult conversations and conduct them in a courteous, respectful and positive way.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *