Teachers strike at Leytonstone school as last-ditch talks fail

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Teachers strike as last-ditch talks fail Teachers strike as last-ditch talks fail

TEACHERS at a popular all-girls school have started a two day strike after last-ditch talks failed.

National Union of Teachers (NUT) members at Connaught School for Girls in Leytonstone are holding the walk-out in protest at its bid to become an academy.

It is the third strike over the issue to close the school this term.

Governors agreed to the academy plans at a meeting last month but the union wants a fresh vote because it says the result was close and some governors did not attend.

Yesterday (Tuesday) Connaught management and union representatives met with independent conciliatory body Acas in an attempt to resolve the crisis, but failed to reach an agreement.

Waltham Forest NUT secretary Steve White said: "It's very likely we will see more strikes in future.

"The union will support whatever its members want to do and I think it is almost certain."

Academy status will allow the school to break away from council control, giving it greater independence and receiving all its funding direct from the government.

Headteacher Ann Betts said governors were concerned that the council was planning on merging Connaught with another school and they felt becoming an academy was the only way to safeguard its future.

She also says the school will be £97,000 better off financially.

But the council says there are no merger plans and academy status will not lead to the school getting any extra funding.

The NUT says the merger fears are based on "speculation" and is concerned that teachers' employment terms and conditions could be cut if the school is taken out of council control.

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