Deaf to the overwhelming opposition of parents, students, staff and their unions, the local community and council, Lee Mason-Ellis and the Pioneer Academy chain are intent on taking over Moulsecoomb Primary School in Brighton in September. With Gavin Williamson reasserting Tory policy to push academisation further, Lee Mason-Ellis sees rich pickings in Brighton for his academy chain, with other schools their target.
Determined to resist, school staff and their unions – the National Education Union (NEU), Unison and GMB – have voted to go on strike again on 6 July. They reject the academy model, and wish to remain a local authority school.
Academy chains are private companies, who seek to make profit through cuts to children’s resources and staff numbers, while removing any accountability to parents and the local community. They have nothing to do with raising education standards. Even Ofsted, in its most recent inspection, criticised academisation as a distraction from the good work being carried out by the school.
With the threat of a new wave of academisation, schools must not be left to fight alone. A new national campaign needs to be launched by education unions to oppose academies, and to link it to the fight on post-Covid school funding, teachers’ pay, workload and league tables.
The basis exists for such a campaign to prepare for national strike action to take on this deeply unpopular policy, and take advantage of the weak and divided Tory government. Just recently the Tory education tsar, Sir Kevan Collins, resigned over the failure of the government to fund school recovery plans, with growing demands for Williamson to go too.
The wide support for Moulsecoomb’s resistance was shown in the recent 1,000-strong march and rally in Brighton. This support needs to be built on, with the call for a one-day education strike in Brighton to oppose academisation and demand the full funding of local schools. And an occupation of the school, with the support of Brighton Council, would escalate the dispute and put this vital issue into the national spotlight.
This community has fought for three years to keep the wolves from the door. The fight is not over yet.
- Join the strike rally at Moulsecoomb Primary at 8am on 6 July
- Send emails of support to email@example.com