TEACHERS could strike over a school's plan to leave local authority control.

Staff at Rush Croft Sports College in Chingford are expected to be balloted on industrial action over claims teachers and parents were not consulted on a move to merge with Chingford Foundation School under one academy trust.

Rush Croft headteacher, Pat Cutler, said she was "delighted" that the government had approved the move, which would give the school financial independence.

But the National Union of Teachers (NUT) claimed the decision has left teachers surprised and angry, and slammed the plan as a "backward step".

NUT representative Rinaldo Frezzato said: "We're pretty confident about the outcome of the ballot, it's likely we'll strike.

"Members are very angry that the school has not listened to the people whom this will affect - namely parents and teachers.

"These members recognise what a backward step academy status represents.

"The real agenda is about privatisation, destruction of national conditions of service, elitism and social divisions in education."

Mr Frezzato expects 40 of the 60 teachers at Rush Croft to take part in planned walk-outs in September.

Meanwhile, Chingford Hall Primary School in Burnside Avenue, Chingford, will become an academy on July 1 following a glowing assessment by watchdog Ofsted, which enabled it to be fast-tracked through the process.

And headteacher Pat Davies agreed that the spread of academies was limiting cash flow into other schools.

She said: "More schools are going down the academy route, which means there's less money for us. Parents are happy about it."

Connaught School for Girls in Connaught Road, Leytonstone, also confirmed it is considering the academy option.

However, Mr Frezzato believes the school will almost certainly try to gain academy status.

Headteacher Anne Betts said the school has experienced a four per cent budget reduction this year.

"I wouldn't be doing my job if I wasn't considering all options," she added.

"If you ask why we've been cut it's because we have the highest percentage [of top grades] at GCSE.

"We want to control our budget and remain a girls-only school. They tend to achieve better if they are just girls rather than if they are at a mixed school, which is what our results show."

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