Teachers at Connaught School in Leytonstone are to go on strike again

Teachers striking outside Connaught School earlier this term.

Teachers striking outside Connaught School earlier this term.

First published in Waltham Forest East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

A SCHOOL is facing weeks of disruption after a union announced a new series of two-day strikes in an increasingly bitter row over its bid to become an academy.


Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) at Connaught School for Girls in Leytonstone have said they will walk-out for a total of six days in the next three weeks.


And Waltham Forest NUT secretary Steve White said there could be more strikes "to Christmas and beyond" unless the issue was resolved.


There have already been four days of strikes at the school since September.


Headteacher Ann Betts said some year groups would still be able to attend classes but admitted it was unlikely that Connaught would be fully open on strike days.


Governors voted by eight to six in favour of the school applying for academy status last month.


But the NUT wants the vote to be held again because two governors were absent.


Academy status will allow the school to break away from council control and receive all its funding direct from the government.


Ms 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 claims the school will be £97,000 better off.


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


Mr White said: "The ideal situation is that the governors realise that there's huge opposition and that they reflect that in a new vote.


"If they won't hold a new vote then we ask them to start again and go through the process properly by having a full consultation."


Ms Betts said: "We went for talks with national representatives of the NUT and agreed to guarantees about teachers terms and conditions, and the TUC model policy on academies, but the local NUT threw it out.


"I really feel for the impact this disruption is having on parents and the children - all because we had a democratic consultation and vote which the NUT didn't like the result of.”


Ms Betts indicated that she believed that the two governors who were absent would  have voted in favour as well, although the NUT disputes this.


The strikes are due to take place next Tuesday and Wednesday (November 27 and 28), Wednesday and Thursday (December 5 and 6) and Tuesday and Thursday (December 11 and 13).

Comments (2)

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11:29am Fri 23 Nov 12

Local boy Steve says...

I live in the catchment area for Connaught School and my daughter attended the school which provided her with a superb basis for Higher Education. In the words of the Local Authority, 'Why would we interfere with an excellent school that consistently achieves excellent results.' The head and governors have deliberately distributed misinformation and refused to distribute information from the Local Authority in order to get their own way. The move will be disasterous for the school now and in the future and any gains are unlikely to benefit the students. There were four places unfilled at the governors meeting, two actually unfilled and two absent. It would only be fair to have a revote ensuring first that all goversnors are present and have the correct information and without the misleading presence of an 'interested party' from 'Strictly Education' who are actively promoting Michael Gove's desire to covert all schools to academies. Considering the minister for education's inability to correctly understand education in this country his plans are most certainly flawed. I would urge parents to support the strikes and resist the change to academy not just for the benefit of their daughters, but for future pupils at the school.
I live in the catchment area for Connaught School and my daughter attended the school which provided her with a superb basis for Higher Education. In the words of the Local Authority, 'Why would we interfere with an excellent school that consistently achieves excellent results.' The head and governors have deliberately distributed misinformation and refused to distribute information from the Local Authority in order to get their own way. The move will be disasterous for the school now and in the future and any gains are unlikely to benefit the students. There were four places unfilled at the governors meeting, two actually unfilled and two absent. It would only be fair to have a revote ensuring first that all goversnors are present and have the correct information and without the misleading presence of an 'interested party' from 'Strictly Education' who are actively promoting Michael Gove's desire to covert all schools to academies. Considering the minister for education's inability to correctly understand education in this country his plans are most certainly flawed. I would urge parents to support the strikes and resist the change to academy not just for the benefit of their daughters, but for future pupils at the school. Local boy Steve
  • Score: 0

12:24pm Fri 23 Nov 12

chocolatesquire says...

The worst thing is that this is not really about academies any more.

The NUT are just asking for a fairer, more transparent process. As it is the school has mismanaged the people, leaving themselves open to horrible gossip about corruption, misinformation and nepotism.

If the vote turns out the same, then yes the union will be annoyed, but the teachers will shut up and end the strikes.

If I was the head I would have done this weeks ago just to prove I was right and stopped the bad feeling there and then.
The worst thing is that this is not really about academies any more. The NUT are just asking for a fairer, more transparent process. As it is the school has mismanaged the people, leaving themselves open to horrible gossip about corruption, misinformation and nepotism. If the vote turns out the same, then yes the union will be annoyed, but the teachers will shut up and end the strikes. If I was the head I would have done this weeks ago just to prove I was right and stopped the bad feeling there and then. chocolatesquire
  • Score: 0

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