The mood is buoyant amongst staff at Small Heath School following their strike against academy plans earlier this week, which prompted hundreds of messages of support. Further strikes are planned for later this year. The following report is from one of the organisers;
Small Heath School in Birmingham, (one of the schools associated with the ‘Trojan Horse Hoax’), after 5 consecutive outstanding Ofsted judgements, was placed in Special Measures in January. The governing body was disbanded and an Interim Executive Board was imposed. Birmingham City Council sent a letter on March 30th stating that the ‘exit strategy’ of the IEB was to turn the school into a sponsored academy.
The IEB refused the demand from the teaching unions that no discussion or planning on any such change should take place before December 18th to allow the school, the staff and the community to recover from what has happened to it before any further changes are proposed.
The NUT, NASUWT and ATL struck on May 13th against any intention of the IEB to convert the school to an academy. The school was closed.
The strike was solid, confident and united. It generated a great deal of positive and supportive television, radio and press coverage. Hundreds of messages of support have been received from teachers and workers across the country and the vibrant and noisy picket lines were visited by teachers and workers from a number of workplaces.
Staff striking would like to convey our thanks for all the messages of support encouraging and inspiring us to resist the dismantling of a fair and comprehensive education system for our children and for all children.
That support gave us great strength – we were confident when we struck yesterday and we will be confident tomorrow. An injury to one is an injury to all. And this has been the overriding message that we have received from so many colleagues.
The next few years will be tough in education, for teachers, for support workers, for parents and for children, but there is nothing better to lift the spirits than to be in struggle against ‘their’ vision of what education should be. The staffroom today was buoyant and positive!
If we don’t fight, we will lose. If we do fight, you never know! We’ll keep fighting!
Plans to strike in July and in September are now being discussed. Our next step will be to fully involve parents in this battle and of this, we are very, very confident. Support staff unions are also discussing how to join with the NUT, NASUWT and the ATL to defend our school, our children and the community that it serves.