Save our schools: Islington teachers protest government plan to turn schools to academies

Islington NUT members at protest

Islington NUT members at protest - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of angry teachers and parents staged an emergency protest yesterday (Wed) over government plans to turn schools into academies.

Islington NUT

Islington NUT - Credit: Archant

The protest saw more than 100 Islington teachers – along with those from across the country – march from Westminster Cathedral to the Department of Education to protest.

Ken Muller, joint secretary of the Islington National Union of Teachers, told the Gazette: “I cannot remember a time when teachers have been as angry about something as they have about this.

“We’re horrified and appalled at George Osborne and Nicky Morgan’s plans. We were opposed to academies from the very beginning as we felt that it was a Trojan horse leading to the privatisation of education.

“At the time we were told we were wrong and academies were designed to give schools more choice and improve facilities but if this was the case we’ve seen no evidence of it.

“The announcement completely removes schools from any kind of local accountability.”

The chancellor Mr Osborne confirmed that the government planned to turn all schools into academies in his Budget last week. The move will effectively end the century-old tradition of local authorities running education in their local areas.

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There are 42 primary schools and eight secondary schools under local authority control in Islington.

Of that number, 100 per cent of secondary schools and 86pc of primaries were judged by Ofsted to be good or outstanding.

Parent Julie Hunt told the Gazette: “I deliberately sent my children to Highbury Grove School and didn’t want them to attend an academy. Now I’m being told by the government without even being consulted that their school is going to be privatised.

“Not only have parents been ignored but we’ve been completely bypassed. It feels like all the public services have been stolen from underneath us.”

Barrie O’Shea, headteacher at Duncombe Primary School, in Sussex Way, said: “I’m not anti- academy but having a mix is good.

“We [free schools, faith schools, community schools] all work well together.

“Academies are not the only way forward.”