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Please Support our Schools Say NO to Leicester Academies Campaign

13th February 2009

now supported by Leicester Social Forum, The Education Forum, ATL, ASCL, NUT, NASUWT, UCU, GMB, UNISON, Leicester Trades Council, & Leicester Green Party

‘Will I have to apply for my job again?’

That is frequently the question I am asked when talking to colleagues about the plans to turn Riverside into an Academy. I too wonder this, having been a teacher in the west of the city all my career and having experienced two closures, one redeployment, an amalgamation, the secondary review and now this. At a rough calculation I have written ten letters for posts that I was already doing (let’s not mention TLRs!) I have been fortunate and have never been in a position where one of these externally imposed changes has meant a salary cut or demotion, but we all know colleagues whose careers have been blighted by closures and amalgamations. It takes a special kind of teacher to work in city schools, especially those in areas of high deprivation, and the least we should expect is that our salaries are maintained.

Why do we teach in the local, state funded sector? As a product of the ‘Leicestershire Plan’ of the 60s and 70s, my personal belief in local comprehensives stems from experience as a student and a teacher. I did not enter the profession to end it working in a privately funded school where what I taught, who I taught and my pay and working conditions were dictated by outsiders that thought they could run a school. Proposals for Academies anywhere affront the basic beliefs that I hold about state education.

A question asked in puzzlement by teachers at Riverside is, ‘How will turning the school into an academy transform the results when our intake will be the same and the teachers and support staff will be the same?’ My answer to them is, ‘But will they remain the same?’ Anything could change if the ‘radical’ plan of our LA is to create Academies - will we all have jobs? Will we all want a job in an academy?

As the NUT Representative at Riverside I am trying to show that academies are essentially wrong educationally and that there are alternatives that would be much more relevant and successful for the students of this area of Leicester.

Please talk to your union representatives, attend meetings, become informed and be proactive - this is not a ‘done deal.’ Assertive action does work - look at what happened to the proposals for an Academy at Sinfin in Derbyshire.

Jenny Day (NUT Rep, Riverside Community College)

Treating people with due respect

It was kind of the council to actually inform Headteachers about their plans for Babington Community College at a recent Heads Conference. What a shame that before making public their announcement they did not have the courtesy to discuss the plans with the Principal of the College or the staff.

But then we are talking about the ‘One Leicester’ City Council where decisions are made behind closed doors with no pretence at meaningful consultation.

So, too, with Fullhurst Community College. The council and officers have been told repeatedly of the challenges facing Fullhurst and about the kinds of interventions necessary in order to support the school in making real progress. Did they listen? NO chance! They were far too busy drawing up their Academy plans to have time to organise a proper package of support based on the Transforming Leicester’s Learning strategy. So Fullhurst was left to its own devices and ended up in special measures. In many other fields of work this would be described as Local Authority negligence.

In fact, TLL has now been exposed in practice as a rather select gravy train. As revealed at Schools Forum in January, in the period January to August 2008, the city council CYPS department spent £2 million on consultants. That is £250k per month, including the summer holidays! That money could have paid for 56 full time teachers to go into schools to work alongside existing staff for one year. So Fullhurst, Riverside, Babington, New College and Hamilton could have had four additional teachers each, with 36 left to go round the Primary schools currently languishing in ‘Leicester Challenge’.

But that would have required a real commitment to collaborative working. It would have also required imagination to deploy experienced staff into the relevant schools to provide the type of focused in-class support that is needed for staff. Neither of these seems to be forthcoming from the Local Authority. Perhaps that is because their Raising Attainment Plan is still a well kept secret.

Oh Dear - Another Academy Ends In Disaster.

The Richard Rose Academy in Carlisle, which only opened in September, has now failed its Emergency Ofsted inspection. It is the latest example of why Academies are a dangerous experiment being tried out on our children's education. Richard Rose has had a catalogue of problems:
Teachers are being asked to re-apply for their jobs, with some fearing a pay cut of £10,000.
Peter Noble, Chief Executive, was the first Head Teacher with no classroom experience. He has now resigned.
Parents organised a 200 strong protest meeting, unprecedented AFTER an academy has been opened.
200 pupils organised a protest outside the school last Friday, leading to the school being closed for the day.


Related articles

Save West Gate School! (19th November 2021)
There Won't Be Any Changes When We Become an Academy. Don't Believe a Word of It! (23rd January 2019)
Still No Need to Rush to Academisation (27th January 2018)
Academies Are Bad For Your Health (8th November 2016)
Two petitions (7th July 2016)
The Government White Paper (30th March 2016)
New academies laws (30th March 2016)
How the government forces schools to become academies (15th January 2016)
Academisation at Uplands JS and Rushey Mead (24th June 2015)
Academies increase divisions between the rich and poor (4th September 2013)
Rushey Mead Secondary School - the fight continues (4th September 2013)
The Fight is on to Save Rushey Mead Secondary School (30th June 2013)
Gove writes to city MPs (12th November 2012)
Academies - not in Leicester! (3rd September 2012)
Academies: the one-way journey (25th May 2012)
Report From the 2012 NUT National Conference (18th April 2012)
Catholic Schools Consultation on Academies (14th November 2011)
Academies in Leicestershire (4th April 2011)
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Say No! to Academies (2nd February 2011)
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A message from NUT General Secretary, Christine Blower (18th September 2010)
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Sponsor is banned from new academies (18th November 2009)
Academy Up-Front Payment Dropped (9th September 2009)
Support our Schools: Say NO to Leicester Academies (20th June 2009)
Now Riverside May Close (25th March 2009)
Should this man be running an Academy? (22nd January 2009)
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Academies Opposition Goes Across All Unions (3rd December 2008)
5th Annual Report On Academies (3rd December 2008)
Edison Profiting From Education (3rd December 2008)
Snatch! (3rd December 2008)
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More on Academies: Jeremy Paxman Moment of the Month (10th November 2008)
Please Support our Schools - Say NO to Leicester Academies (10th November 2008)
Collaboration, Not Privatisation (8th September 2008)
Primary Academies on the Timetable? (8th September 2008)
Proposals for Academies in Leicester (7th July 2008)
Sellafield to Sponsor An Academy in Cumbria (7th July 2008)
At least three more city academies proposed for Leicester (2nd June 2008)
You Get Academies Whether You Want Them Or Not (7th May 2007)
Academies (3rd April 2006)
A Fresh Fresh Start at New College! (9th January 2006)
Revolt Against Academy in Blair's Backyard (7th November 2005)
Second Division (7th March 2005)
National Adjudicator Questions Value of City Academy (10th January 2005)
City Academy Consultation (6th December 2004)
City Academy gets provisional approval (2nd February 2004)
City Academy Faces Setback (5th May 2003)
The Book of Job's Comforter (6th March 2000)