Strike fears as two Redbridge schools consider becoming academies

A bid by two secondary schools to free themselves of council control and become academies has sparked the threat of industrial action.

A majority of teachers at Hainault Forest High School, Harbourer Road, Hainault, have voted for an official ballot on whether to strike in opposition to plans for their school to become an academy in January.

They will now meet with governors to talk about the proposals in more detail before any vote on industrial action.

It is also understood students at the school have started an anti-academy petition.

Meanwhile, the Recorder has learned Canon Palmer Catholic High School, Aldborough Road South, Seven Kings, is also looking at becoming an academy.

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Academies are free of local authority control and put schools in charge of key spending decisions.

So far only one borough school: Chadwell Heath Academy School, Christie Gardens, Chadwell Heath, has taken up the school model promoted by the government.

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Hainault Forest High associate headteacher Will Thompson said Beal High School, Woodford Bridge Road, Redbridge, was being lined up as sponsor of the academy if the proposals go-ahead.

He said: “The sponsorship arrangement would not see any change in how the school is run and mean a continuation of the partnership arrangement between the two schools which has been in place since March 2010.

“This collaboration has already led to noticeable improvements in morale and enthusiasm for learning as well as offering inspirational leadership and additional support for Hainault Forest High School.”

But speaking out against the plans, Redbridge National Union of Teachers president Bob Archer, said there was a need for a “proper consultation” among governors, staff and parents.

He added: “We are against academies. We want local authorities running schools with the best possible democratic controls.”

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