Teachers and parents last week united to campaign in order to prevent Lewisham’s state schools becoming academies.
“Stop Academies in Lewisham” was launched following a public meeting in Catford, taking inspiration from Hove Park School in East Sussex, which defended itself from academy status earlier this year.
On November 17 concerned teachers and parents met at the Railway Telegraph pub in Forest Hill to launch SAIL. The schools under threat are Prendergast Hilly Fields, Prendergast Lady Well Fields, Prendergast The Vale, Sedgehill School and Bonus Pastor School.
General secretary of the Lewisham branch of the NUT, Martin Powell-Davies said: “The campaign is now calling for a lobby of the council outside the next full council meeting on November 26.”
The council meeting will be held at Sedgehill School and will be attended by numerous cabinet members, including the mayor of Lewisham.
SAIL will congregate outside the school from 6:00pm hoping to publicise their opposition to the plans. They aim to speak to councillors and question them on the conversion proposals.
Plans were drawn up during Monday’s meeting appointing specific co-ordinators for each of the six schools.
SAIL is urging people to write to headteachers and governors to seek assurance that their child’s school will not become an academy. SAIL also plans to carry out ballots for strike action.
The campaign is supported by Lewisham Green Party’s councillor for Brockley ward, John Coughlin. He said: “Academies are a fast track to the privatisation of education. They increase inequality and have questionable results. We need to bring Lewisham’s academies back under local education authority control, not create more of them”.
Lewisham Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition “fully support the newly established Stop Academies In Lewisham campaign”.
“TUSC stands for fully funded comprehensive education under local authority control and opposes all forms of privatisation.”
Chris Flood, former Lewisham Socialist Party councillor and TUSC member said: “TUSC has a proud record of standing with the NUT and other unions in defending education in the borough against cuts and privatisation. We saw with the Lewisham Hospital campaign that when we organise and campaign we can win. TUSC will be lending our full support to SAIL and to NUT members taking action against the proposals”.