100 Protest Against Academies
Around one hundred people packed a Support Our Schools meeting in the Adult Education Centre on Wednesday 19th November.
Chaired by Leicester South MP, Sir Peter Soulsby, the meeting heard rousing speeches from Anti-Academies campaigner Hank Roberts, Green Party Councillor Matt Follett and Support our Schools campaigner Peter Flack. Speeches in favour of academies by Councillor Vi Dempster and the LA’s Officer for National Challenge David Kershaw were listened to politely but received no applause.
Sir Peter Soulsby MP, chairing a packed meeting at the Adult education Centre
As Peter Flack said, the key question all along has been “Why have Academies?” In Leicester, cross-school collaborative working has seen results in both Primary schools and Secondary schools improve more rapidly than ever before. That is what those opposed to Academies are supporting. In actual fact, in trying to defend Academies, both Vi Dempster and David Kershaw have made a very good case for continuing with a collaborative model for school improvement in Leicester.
Hank Roberts and Matt Follett at the public meeting
Unfortunately, the hard work done by the NUT and other members of the Support Our Schools Campaign has fallen on deaf ears. Despite the overwhelming message from the public meeting, despite the production of detailed and workable alternative models to academies, and despite the NUT bending over backwards to try to reach an agreement, the Labour Group on the City Council have chosen to proceed with a full consultation for three City Academies - Riverside, Fullhurst and Babington. This immediately means two things:
• The NUT has no alternative but to withdraw its support for Transforming Leicester’s Learning.
• The NUT will begin discussions with members in the affected schools with a view to launching a campaign of industrial action to oppose the imposition of academies in Leicester.