A hundred people attended Heartsease High School in Norwich to launch a campaign against proposals to turn the school into Norwich’s first City Academy. The meeting was chaired by local Labour MP Ian Gibson, who has come out firmly against the Academy. The Division Secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the region’s NUT Executive member were there, along with local teachers, parents (and some students), councillors and governors.
Two members of the Anti-Academies Alliance spoke about the chaos caused by the switch from being a community school to becoming an Academy. The meeting heard how Academy sponsors are given control of admissions policy, the curriculum-offer, staff pay and conditions, and the governing-body. Sponsors also gain ownership of the site, removing a public asset from local democracy and accountability. God and Mammon are combining to sponsor the Academy, in the shape of the Bishop of Norwich and a local car-dealer with Evangelical Christian sympathies.
However, the sponsors’ representative assured the meeting that the proposed Academy would not be a Faith School. The meeting was overwhelmingly opposed to the Academy, despite some interest in it from a number of the school’s governors. Further meetings are planned at other local schools to organise opposition, and material will be produced to counter that distributed by the PR firm hired by the sponsors. Some local headteachers are already refusing to distribute material they regard as pro-Academy propaganda. The NUT in Norwich must mobilise members to fight the Academy, or see other schools targeted for similar treatment.
To get involved, contact Pat 01362 860 826