Academy approval for Sinfin Community School 'no surprise' as unions vow to keep up fight
TEACHING unions have vowed to fight on despite a Derby school being given the go-ahead to become an academy.
Staff at Sinfin Community School were told yesterday that Secretary of State Michael Gove had decided the school would go under the control of the Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust educational charity from May.
This followed a consultation, during which members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers and the National Union of Teachers joined forces for a two-day strike in protest against the proposed conversion.
But despite this and opposition from the city council, Mr Gove said "more than half of respondents agreed the school should become an academy", and he had taken into account its "long history of under-performance".
Dave Wilkinson, NASUWT branch secretary, said he would be "consulting members about further strike action".
He said: "This decision will come as no surprise to anyone. All through the consultation, Greenwood Dale has not produced a shred of evidence to support its claim that academy conversion will raise standards.
"There is no evidence that it will attempt to improve school leadership management of pupil behaviour, which is the biggest obstacle to raising standards. We will continue to campaign for Sinfin Community School's continuation as a local authority school, accountable to the people of Sinfin."
Nick Raine, regional NUT secretary, confirmed he would be speaking to members at the school. He said: "Staff are not happy and could take further strike action."
Head teacher Steve Monks, who is the longest serving secondary head teacher in the city, said he was pleased that uncertainty over Sinfin's future had been resolved.
He said: "I am confident that, with the enhanced support from Greenwood Dale, the school will improve into a highly successful academy."
Mr Gove started the academy conversion process by sacking the school's governing body last autumn and installing an interim executive board to carry out the consultation.
Barry Day, Greenwood Dale chief executive, said: "When we sponsor a new academy, we do much more than simply change its name.
"We use our extensive educational expertise to support staff and significantly improve the results and life chances of pupils. We expect Sinfin to become an outstanding academy."
The school was placed in special measures a year ago but when it becomes an academy it will drop this status and the new management will have up to two years before it is inspected.
A Department for Education spokesman said: "The trust will give the leadership and expertise the school needs to improve."