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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 May 2015

Management thrashed in academies debate

Beth Sutcliffe, Lewisham Socialist Party

Students, staff and parents gave management a sound drubbing in a south London debate over whether three schools should be converted into academies.

Around 200 turned up for the 14 May event. David Sheppard, executive head of the Prendergast school federation in Lewisham, went head to head with the Socialist Party's Martin Powell-Davies, a member of the National Union of Teachers executive.

From the start the audience clearly felt disaffected by lack of communication about the planned change. An online questionnaire supposed to get "feedback from the school community" was judged overwhelmingly biased. One of the schools' former sociology teachers said her GCSE students could have written a better one!

'No change'?

Sheppard repeated many times that there would be no change to the ethos of the schools. Both Martin and audience members asked why convert if there would be 'no change'?

As teachers who currently work in academies pointed out, the reality of academisation is they are expected to work far longer hours - which has resulted in many leaving the profession. Again and again, staff, parents and students demanded a ballot take place to decide the schools' fate.

This was met with the reply: "This is a consultation, not a referendum." But pressure for a ballot remains strong, with further strikes planned in June.

Towards the end, Sheppard assured everyone that he and the governors would be attending more meetings in future - saying, "I always keep my word." The audience laughed. Clearly the community has little faith in him.

One attendee commented afterwards that "if that had been a boxing match, it would have been stopped in the second round."

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In The Socialist 20 May 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Cut rents not benefits

Fight back at the Tory war on youth

Stop the "elites fortifying their power"

Build a movement to defeat the government's savagery

Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business

Fight Tories' new 'anti-extremism' law

State and big business spied on activists

Ukip provocateur unmasked

Them & Us


Socialist Party workplace news

Support the National Rail walkout over pay and jobs

FBU debates how to combat Tory onslaught

All-out pay strike forces Labour council back to table

ITV production staff

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

US: Bernie Sanders calls for 'political revolution'


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Election aftermath: anti-Tory austerity protests

Cheapskate council screws up election ballot!

Build up resources to fight the Tories

Management thrashed in academies debate

Campaign news in brief


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Russell Brand's 'The Emperor's New Clothes'

Save our 'life saver' libraries!

Tories rig exams to favour rich students


 

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Related links:

Lewisham:

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