After 12 days of strike action, NEU members at St. Michael’s RC Primary School in Newham have succeeded in forcing the Governing Body to agree that there are no plans to academise their school. They have agreed that they will not revisit their decision until at the earliest September 2022.

Strike dates for a further 9 days (3 days a week for 3 more weeks) had just been issued when the Governing Body finally declared they had no plans to academise. The members however, conscious of the possibility of an attempt to review this decision after September 2022, made further requests to the GB so that – should the GB wish to review their decision – full consultation will include a working party to include staff, staff unions and parents to look at all options – including staying within the LA family of schools – with no pre-determined outcome.

The 11 members, at the 1 form-entry Primary school, have been critical in inspiring and sustaining the campaign against the planned academisation of their own and other Catholic schools within the Brentwood Diocese. St. Angela’s and St. Bonaventure’s, 2 RC Secondary Schools in Newham, recently succeeded in reaching similar agreements with their GBs after 1 days’ strike and 6 days’ strike respectively

The 3 Newham schools devised and shared strategies by holding regular strike rallies together and helped leaflet each others’ parents to ensure they built understanding and support in the community for the strike action taken in defence of both teachers and pupils against academisation. The St. Michael’s NEU group reached out in solidarity to St. Bede’s in nearby Redbridge, attending meetings and sharing leaflets – their fight continues and, as has been shown in Newham, can be won!

Louise Cuffaro, Joint Secretary, Newham NEU

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