Governors at Petts Hill Primary School in Ealing, London, have revoked
their decision to convert to academy status, to the delight of NUT
The school had been due to join an academy chain in December, following
a decision taken by governors last spring. But at a meeting on 22
November this decision was overturned, following months of campaigning
and consultation by the NUT with staff, parents, governors, councillors
and local MP Steve Pound.
Christine Blower, NUT General Secretary, said: "Congratulations to all
who worked on this campaign. This is a clear demonstration that academy
status can be opposed and local democratic accountability upheld" Local
NUT Assistant Secretary Stefan Simms added: "We regret the pressure put
on local authorities and schools everywhere by the Secretary of State's
blind faith in academies per se. It is not the structure of any school
that makes a difference to children's lives. It is the quality of
"Michael Gove has had to respect this change of heart locally, so that
Petts Hill can remain a good, locally-managed school."
Strike hits home
NUT members at Village Infants School took three days’ strike action in July after Barking and Dagenham Council decided to amalgamate the school with William Ford Junior to make a joint voluntary aided CE primary school. The proposals would have meant a change of employer, moving from the local authority to the Diocese of Chelmsford.
Almost 700 people, including teachers, parents and governors from both schools, opposed the proposals and signed a petition.
Village Infants’ NUT rep Yolanda Cattle said: "Although we found it difficult to close the school to the children, by going on strike we realised we were fighting to save a community school for local children, so we had to continue."
The governing body of William Ford School voted against the proposal. As a result of this concerted opposition, the council revoked its decision.
Parent power helps SEN pupils
Parents have successfully challenged the refusal of Mossbourne Academy in Hackney, London, to admit a number of children with special educational needs.
Mossbourne – often promoted by the Government as one of its flagship academies – had argued that it already had a higher than average number of pupils with special educational needs.
The Learning Trust, which manages education in Hackney, refused to name Mossbourne in the children’s statements of special educational needs, which set out the help they should receive – including the name of the school they should attend. But a tribunal ruled that Mossbourne should be named in the statements of three children, with a fourth case adjourned pending further information.
One of the cases involved an academically gifted 11-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. It was argued that looking after his needs would compromise other children’s education.
Pride in Manchester
NUT Regional Secretary for the North West Avis Gilmore is pictured (centre) against the NUT float on Saturday 25 August during the Manchester Pride parade, with the Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Elaine Boyes (left) and her consort Lady Mayoress Linda Geoghegan.
The NUT has a presence at many Pride events around the country as part of our ongoing support for LBGT teachers and pupils and our commitment to equality issues.
Victory for Memory
Memory Juma, a young woman with severe learning difficulties who was threatened with deportation, has been granted discretionary leave to stay in the UK for three years. This is the result of a campaign by her family, teachers and the local community to stop her being sent back to Malawi.
Memory’s mother did not register her when she came to Britain as she was afraid her daughter would be taken away. Instead Memory became known to the Border Agency as a person over the age of 18 without legitimate immigration status.
A delighted Dominic Wall, Head Teacher at Southfield Special School where Memory is a pupil, explained:"Because of all the support from teacher colleagues and the Bradford NUT branch we have raised sufficient funds to instruct a specialist immigration lawyer to see Memory through any future hurdles when her three-year stay is up.”
Memory was in the winning team in her School Olympics in July.
Back to school for NUT
The NUT’s Northern regional office has a new home – in a former special school in Gateshead. Having outgrown their office in Chester-le-Street, the staff have moved to the converted school hall of the former Joicey Road Special School.
Ian Mearns MP, a member of the Commons Select Committee on Education, was among the guests. He is pictured above with NUT General Secretary Christine Blower at the opening of the new office in September.
Christine said:"The new site will better enable NUT staff to serve the needs of our members.”
Right on song
Gladesmore School in Tottenham, London, has created its own song as a way of bringing people together after last year’s riots. The song, Everybody Dreams, was professionally produced at Abbey Road Studios with assistance from Dave Stewart, formerly of the Eurythmics.
Jessica Ford, who teaches at St Stephen’s CE Primary School in Lambeth, London, completed the gruelling 5K Spartan Race in the summer break in aid of Macmillan Cancer Care in memory of her dad, sister-in-law and mother-in-law.
Jessica recalls:"I ran with my husband through pits of mud, barbed wire, electric ice baths and over fire. We had trained for months getting up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday to get training – even in the snow!
"So far we have raised over £300 and would love to give more to Macmillan, which is an amazing charity.”
NUT members in Oxfordshire are backing a county-wide campaign to increase enjoyment and confidence in reading among primary school children.
The campaign, launched by Oxfordshire County Council in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, will involve a massive volunteering programme and public campaign alongside targeted intervention in a number of schools.
There is an explicit focus on reading for pleasure and the link between enjoyment and success in reading.
NUT Oxfordshire Secretary Gawain Little said:"This is a crucial part of the NUT’s role. We care passionately about every child having the opportunity to discover a love of reading.”
Retired primary teacher and NUT member Sandra McLeod has won a Compassionate Teacher Award for 25 years of teaching humane education to her east London pupils. It’s the fi rst such award given by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
If you know of a teacher deserving of a Compassionate Teacher Award email Ben Williamson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Over 300 people turned out in
temperatures of minus 12°C before
Christmas to lobby Calderdale
Council over changes to employment
for centrally employed NUT members.
In recent months the ten unions
representing staff have been working
together to defend jobs and services.