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Education Security dogs greet protesters outside Village School as governors approve its privatisation

PROTESTERS against a school’s academisation came face to face with security dogs as governors rubber-stamped plans for its privatisation.

Staff and supporters of the Village School in Brent were prevented from going inside as the building was on "lock-down", while the decision to become an academy secured a majority vote last night.

In reference to the school's head teacher Kay Charles, National Education Union (NEU) strikers chanted: "Who brought the dogs in? Kay, Kay, Kay, Kay. Who paid the bill? We, we, we did."

Jean Roberts from NEU said members of the school board had signed documents that prevented discussion of the meeting and therefore details are limited. Ms Roberts also said the staff were disappointed but not surprised at the decision.

The union will now pursue a legal response against the decision, a plan of action that the board had been warned about prior to the meeting.

"The school is prepared to pay for security guards with dogs, so they are obviously at that sort of level," Ms Roberts told the Star.

"It was said by the head teacher that if the decision was to go ahead, there will be a reorganisation. There is no extra funding for academies so the financial situation will hit hard."

The group is looking into whether proper due diligence regarding finance had been taken before the decision.

Ms Roberts said that the school was special and students who were not able to travel in by other means were bussed in.
 
Parents have been vocal in their support for the staff and Barry Gardiner, Labour MP in Brent North and shadow international trade secretary, has criticised the privatisation plan.

A letter sent to parents by Mr Charles falsely claimed that staff were being paid to strike when, in fact, staff had paid into a sustentation fund for times of action. NEU reps and staff governors were also targeted and accused of safeguarding offences and conflicts of interest.

The Village School opened in 2014 costing Brent Council £29 million.

It was awarded the highest possible "outstanding" rating at its recent Ofsted inspection and was described as the "jewel in the crown" of Brent Council.

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