Teachers to be balloted for strike at Seven Kings school

A teachers’ union will ballot members for industrial action within the next week over plans to turn a school into an academy.

Canon Palmer Catholic High School, Aldborough Road South, Seven Kings, is consulting on proposals to become an academy.

It says the move, which will free it from local authority control, will give it more freedom.

But the National Union of Teachers (NUT) will ask its 45 members of staff working at the school if they agree to industrial action.

The union says a “majority” of staff at Canon Palmer are opposed to plans for it to become an academy.

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Academy status, heralded by the government, puts schools in charge of key spending decisions.

On Monday, parents were invited to a meeting at Canon Palmer to speak to staff about the proposals.

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Kash Mallick, divisional secretary of the NUT in Redbridge, said: “We don’t want to create friction within the school.

“But if only four or five members of staff don’t agree with it [industrial action], they’ll have to live with it as the vast majority will have voted for.

“They’ll be the first school [in Redbridge] to go out of local authority control so they can get more money, which strikes me as greedy.

“They are a very successful, outstanding school with the local authority offering support. Why change that?”

The outcome of the ballot, which could include other trade unions, is not expected until late July.

Chadwell Heath Academy School, Christie Gardens, Chadwell Heath, has become an academy, but was already free of local authority control as it was a foundation school.

Canon Palmer headteacher Frank Maguire said the consultation on academy status runs until Wednesday, with governors meeting after that date to reach a decision.

“The staff and myself are unaware of any ballot having been carried out or to be carried out for industrial action regarding this matter,” he added.

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