Lewisham teachers to campaign against free schools

Teachers are concerned about new free schools and academies opening in the area.

Teachers are concerned about new free schools and academies opening in Lewisham.

A campaign to defend state education against free schools and academies is to be launched by Lewisham teachers next month.

At the Lewisham branch of the National Union of Teachers members are concerned about the Government’s proposal to turn local schools into academies and open free schools in order to deal with the rise in the number of pupils in the area.

A public meeting organised by the NUT will be held on November 12. Teachers and worried members of the public will plan how to defend their schools’ original status and keep them from being taken over by the Government or sponsors backing private academies.

The aim of the meeting is for local councils to gain the right to run new schools.

Lewisham has previously resisted academies and only has six, whilst nearby boroughs of Bromley and Southwark now have 74 and 20 respectively.

Academies are run by the Department of Education and have created a division with local schools in the area.

Martin Powell-Davis, General Secretary of the Lewisham NUT, claimed that academies “take out the local authorities” and “are only interested in serving the private chain”.

He added that there is no evidence that academies actually improve education, instead schools become fragmented and get worse, so “we need schools working together”.

Some schools have campaigned against becoming an academy, such as Hove Park School in Brighton, whose “Hands Off Hove Park” campaign succeeded in September.

Last month the Citizen School’s application was approved in Lewisham. The free school will open in September 2016 on Evelyn Street in Deptford.

It is an all through school, starting at reception class and going up to the sixth form. The school says it will “strive for excellence” and help pupils to achieve beyond their potential.

The NUT’s public meeting will be on Wednesday, November 12 at the Green Man on Bromley road from 7pm.

Lewisham Council has not responded to a request for comment.

Emma Henderson


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