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Teachers in England set to strike over academies plan


Members of the National Union of Teachers, meeting at their annual conference in Brighton yesterday, voted overwhelmingly against what they consider to be the privatisation of the education system.

NUT executive member Ian Murch said the measures would see “schools stolen from their local communities”.

He said: “We will stand up for pupils, for patients and for teachers, and we will lead the campaign for sanity.

“We will fight the forced academisation of our schools.”

Members voted against the Government’s education white paper and also agreed an amendment to ballot for strike action.

This is likely to include proposals for a one-day strike in the summer, as well as potential for further strikes, should members agree.

Members heard the academisation plans represented a “top-down dismantling of the English education system” and were distracting from the real issues facing schools.

Fellow executive member Hazel Danson described the plans as “a wilful act of recklessness”.

Moving the amendment to ballot for strike action, to start this term, NUT executive member Alex Kenny said: “The white paper is a threat to all teachers, no matter what school they work in.

“But there are signs the Government is over-reaching.

“When you look at the scale of opposition, you can see that the tide might be turning against them, and we might be able to force Education Secretary Nicky Morgan back.”

Mr Kenny said the union could work with the British Medical Association to learn lessons on how it combined its political campaign with an industrial campaign for the junior doctors’ strikes earlier this year.

Mr Mulch said strike action – which could also involve teaching staff in Wales – “has to be the catalyst” to get support for their cause.

Despite the vitriol, the NUT’s collective defiance may yet fall on deaf ears in Whitehall, after Ms Morgan ruled out the prospect of a Government U-turn over academisation.

She told the NASUWT conference in Birmingham there would be “no pulling back” and “no reverse gear” on the Government’s education reforms, including the controversial roll-out of academy schools in England.

Support for academisation – which will force 17,000 state schools in England to become privately run academies within six years – has been hard to find from teaching staff.

Members are now expected to be balloted on the prospect of strike action, likely to be before the end of the summer term.

Further strikes could then follow in the autumn term.

The measures do not affect schools in Scotland as education is a devolved issue.


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