Teachers and parents staged a protest against turning a Birmingham primary school into an academy and vowed to mount a ‘rolling programme’ of industrial action.
More than 60 people took part in the demonstration outside Montgomery Primary School in Sparkbrook yesterday, before marching to a nearby community hall for an impromptu meeting to organise a petition and more strike action.
The school was closed as a result of the industrial action.
Teachers are against proposals for the school to become an academy and feel their concerns are being ignored.
Parents said they are angry at the lack of consultation and said they fully support the industrial action by the teachers.
Martin Brick, a teacher of the school for eight years and a representative of the NASUWT, said: “We are opposed to academy status, it is effectively privatising of the education system and this can’t happen.
“The turnout exceeded all expectations, we have received a great amount of support from parents and the local community. We now need to step it up to get the governors to listen.”
David Room, deputy general secretary of Birmingham NUT hailed the protest a huge success. “This I think was the biggest turnout at a school picket line anywhere in Birmingham in my memory during the past 10 years.” he said.
“This is the first of a number of strikes and industrial action and meetings. We will prepare a rolling programme of strike action.”
During the meeting parents formed a campaign group against the changes, angry that they are not being informed of potential changes. They said the next step was organising a petition.
Saira Bano, 28, volunteered, to coordinate views and inform female parents in particular. The mum of two said: “It’s disgusting that the head teacher has not consulted parents. We will fight this until the end.”
Mohammed Ashraf, who has one child at the school and one due to go there, said: “It’s disgusting what they are trying to do, trying to take the decision making away from local people. I am 110 per cent behind the teachers because they have the same concerns as parents, it is in the best interests of our children. This is about a future for our community. If the teachers are not happy it will affect our children’s’ education.”
Javed Khan, whose three children are at the school, added: “Parents are not getting a say. We don’t want the school to become an academy. The results this summer will be an improvement, there is no evidence that academies do any better.”
No one from the school was available for comment.
Birmingham City Council said the proposals for under performing schools to turn into academies was down to national policy announced earlier in the year by the education secretary Michael Gove .
A spokesman for the authority said it is in discussions at a local level with the school and the process was ‘ongoing.’