Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 June 2008

"What do Airtours know about running a school?"

Teachers fight academy plans in Bolton

TEACHERS AT Withins school in Bolton took a second day of strike action on 18 June, over issues arising from their employers' plan to turn it into an 'academy' school.

Hugh Caffrey

Academy schools are largely controlled by so-called 'sponsors'. The government pays 20 million plus for the 'new' school. The sponsors can chip in 2 million if they want, but the government changed the rules so sponsors don't have to pay a penny!

Schools like Withins are literally handed over to the private sector with a 20 million property for their new owners who can control what is taught, how the school is run, and how staff and pupils are treated.

Withins' intended sponsors are the Church of England - not short of C of E schools already - and Anne and David Crossland formerly of travel firm Airtours! As one picket said: "What do Airtours know about running a school?"

Part of the government agenda when introducing academy schools was to weaken the unions' ability to negotiate terms and conditions for teaching and non-teaching staff. At Withins, neither the sponsors-to-be nor the local authority show any willingness to talk to staff about how their contracts will be affected "and so", said one picket, "we're striking in protest!"

Phil Roberts, NUT rep, explained: "We're currently employed by the local authority, and protesting against the decision to transfer our employment to another employer. We've based this on a strike in Westminster by Unison members who took action when threatened with privatisation, and this action was ruled legal by a court judgement. So the strike is about terms and conditions."

Students, parents and people from other unions joined striking teachers at the picket line. "Unison members are desperate to join us," continues Phil, "they're balloting this week. We're worried about what's happening to our colleagues in Hayward, where the school was closed without consultation. The first anyone knew about it was a sign on a lamp-post on the corner!

"That behaviour has unified staff, with Hayward balloting this week. We think maybe these academy sponsors are after not just knighthoods but sainthood. The Crosslands' other academy is in Middleton, which they renamed St Anne's!"

One picket explained the lunacy of the academy agenda: "At the moment the school faces towards the estate where most of our pupils come from. They love coming here, it's a stable place for them where they know the teachers.

"But if it becomes an academy, they're going to change which way the school faces so it's another catchment area! It means most of the pupils we have now simply won't be able to come. None of us want this, not the teachers, not the staff, not the pupils and not the pupils' parents." The day before the teachers' action, school students walked out in protest against the plans.

Support this strike which demands terms and conditions are guaranteed if staff are transferred. Oppose the academy agenda - if the government has 20 million bungs going for free, why can't it be spent to refurbish our schools as staff, parents and pupils see fit - without bringing in iffy private companies and religious organisations?

For more info, petitions etc. go to the campaign website:

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 25 June 2008:

Prices up, Wages down...Summer of action needed!

Workers' battles win results: Tankers drivers' success upsets bosses

Council workers striking back

Socialist Party editorial

Editorial: Summer of discontent?

PCS union sends letter of solidarity to Unison

Campaign for a new workers' party: Conference - Sunday 29 June, 11am - 5pm

Unison Conference 2008

Unison conference 2008: Fighting to reclaim the union for its members

Unison Service Group Executives - socialists elected

National Shop Stewards Network Conference

Fighting, democratic unions not witch hunts

Socialist Party campaigns

Thousands show their hatred for racism

Student unions can be pushed into action

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Review: False 'gods' of a failing system

International socialist news and analysis

Zimbabwe: Mugabe's militias crush his political opponents

Afghanistan - paying the price of western occupation

Summit fails to halt runaway oil prices

Britain: No.1 arms dealer

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Cut throat competition threatens NHS

"With polyclinics you're just a number"

Stop this sell-off!

Origins of the Labour Party

'Old' Labour - born out of workers' struggles

Socialist Party workplace news

Brighton bus drivers match inflation

Teachers fight academy plans in Bolton

Union news in brief

Usdaw election


Home   |   The Socialist 25 June 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleBolton university fire: government inaction puts safety at risk

triangleAnother victory against NHS privatisation

triangleBolton hospital workers strike

trianglePresidents Club sexism scandal: what you thought

triangleBolton council gives 300k to solicitors while making swingeing cuts


triangleSchools... no going back until it's safe

triangleSchools: union oversight needed to end chaos in provision under coronavirus

triangleCarlisle election meeting: Education - time to make the mega-rich and corporations pay


triangleTories knocked back on schools opening

triangleSchools aren't safe

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Ken Douglas


Black Lives Matter

3rd June anti-racist demonstrations across Britain



Equity union general secretary election



Pandemic doesn't stop Socialist Party educating organisers: northern meeting


Labour Party

Blairite general secretary elected - Starmer's takeover of Labour Party consolidated



Fight racism and class inequality, fight capitalism!



Hospital closed following rampant spread of Covid-19



Coordinated union struggle needed to save jobs and nationalise JCB



PCS pay claim: Vital work unrecognised



Schools... no going back until it's safe



Reject the university employers' offer on pay, workload and casualisation



Fight continues for safety on London buses


Fighting Fund

We need readers' support to fight capitalist crisis



Fight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan



Schools aren't safe

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020