Teachers set to strike at Sinfin Community School after takeover by Government
TEACHERS at a Derby school are to take strike action over a proposal to turn it into an academy.
Members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers have voted overwhelmingly to strike at Sinfin Community School.
Last month, Education Secretary Michael Gove stepped in to set up an interim executive board – replacing the existing governing body – over concerns about poor educational standards at the school.
This was prompted after the school failed an Ofsted inspection and had a monitoring visit in June which judged it had not improved sufficiently.
The interim board will begin consulting soon over the conversion to an academy with the Government's preferred sponsor, Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust, which is based in Nottingham.
The board's refusal yesterday to withdraw the academy plans has brought strike action a step nearer.
Dave Wilkinson, NASUWT branch secretary, said: "We are looking at two days of action before Christmas on this issue. I have proposed joint strike action to the National Union of Teachers, given that they have an active ballot as well.
"The ballot results at Sinfin give the NUT the opportunity to join NASUWT in opposing Greenwood Dale's plans for a takeover of Sinfin and I am awaiting their response."
NUT branch secretary Ian Jennison said that the strike option was being considered.
The NASUWT is locked in a second dispute with the school over its handling of teacher monitoring, which it has branded as "intrusive".
Six days of strike action had been planned on this separate issue before Christmas but these have been put on hold pending further talks.
Derby City Council has said it is taking legal action against the Government in a bid to block its plans to turn the school into an academy.
It claims that improvements are already taking place after improved GCSE results this summer, although it had plans to impose its own interim executive board, which were scuppered by the Government's action.
Councillor Martin Rawson, city council cabinet member for children and young people, said challenging the Government's stance on Sinfin Community School was the right thing to do.
He said: "There is slim evidence that simply changing the name of a school to 'academy' improves standards nationally or that it would in Derby."
A Government spokesman insisted it was right to demand a takeover and said: "Academies have already turned around hundreds of struggling secondary schools across the country and are improving their results."