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Industrial Teachers and support staff start anti-academy strike

TEACHERS and support staff start a three-day strike this morning as they fight against plans to turn a special school into an academy.

Workers at the Village School in Kingsbury, north-west London, have escalated their dispute after management refused to pause its “consultation” on taking the school out of local authority control.

The school says a final decision has not yet been made and insisted that staff terms and conditions would be retained if the school converts to an academy.

The campaign against academisation has been backed by Brent North MP and shadow cabinet member Barry Gardiner as well as by local councillors, unions and the constituency Labour party.

But the National Education Union (NEU) said Muhammed Butt, the leader of Labour-controlled Brent Council, had gone back on his past opposition to academies and was pushing the plan through. According to the union, Mr Butt accused striking workers of acting “to punish these children.”

Brent Labour councillor Jumbo Chan said: “I give my full wholehearted support to the outstanding, hard-working and passionate teachers and support staff at the Village School, who work tirelessly every day to nurture the school’s young students and maximise their potential.

“Like them and many other members of the local Labour party and trade unions, I strongly oppose the wholly unnecessary, unhelpful and misguided proposed plans to academise such a valuable local asset, and urge others to do the same.”

Hank Roberts of Brent NEU told the Star: “The only clear, tangible outcome of academisation has been shown to be vastly increased salaries to those at the top and a wider pay gap between those at the top and the overwhelming number of staff.

“Muhammed Butt has said that it is his aim to seek to ‘reverse the outsourcing of services’ that Brent has done previously and bring them back in house as a way of providing a better and more economical service, which we applaud.

“But at the same time, in complete contradiction, he is proposing support for the running of yet another local-authority school to be outsourced: it’s utter hypocrisy.”

Brent Council hadn’t responded to a request for comment by the time the Star went to press.

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