John Roan school support staff strike against academisation

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Support staff at the John Roan School in Blackheath hold two-day strike against academisation. “Academies everywhere are attacking working conditions and putting more pupils through stress with results fixation”, says GMB Southern

On Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th of July, GMB members who are support staff at The John Roan School in Blackheath will be taking strike action against proposed academisation of the school. This joins an existing run of industrial action from the teaching staff who are NEU members and have so far had five days of strike.

The move to academisation followed on from an Ofsted report earlier this year in which the school was deemed to be inadequate. At the time, the acting headteacher Cath Smith had only been in post for one month and staff believe the inspection was flawed and set out to deliver on ideological grounds. Since then the regional schools commissioner has brushed off objections from the community, staff and local MPs Matthew Pennycook and Clive Efford.

John Roan was formed as a boys’ grammar school in 1677 with a second girls’ grammar school opened in 1877. In 1983, the two schools merged along with Charlton Boys School to form the current comprehensive school.

All staff at the school believe that the issues raised by the report can be addressed under the existing management and as part of the local authority. After this week’s action, the campaign against academisation will take a pause for the summer but will restart in the new school year.

Jonathan Martin, GMB representative at John Roan, said: "We believe that The John Roan should not become an academy, but should stay within the local authority. We believe that with the support of the LA, Cath Smith, the teachers and support staff, we can make real, positive changes together that will move our school forward.

"We believe that our jobs and terms and conditions will only be fully protected if we do not become an academy. No to academisation – irreversible, irresponsible and above all, ineffective!"

Clive Smith, GMB Regional Organiser said: "John Roan is a school with deep roots in the local community. It has over three hundred years of history yet now it’s another public asset to be given away in an ideologically motivated move.

"Academies everywhere are attacking working conditions and putting more pupils through stress with results fixation. Local MPs don't want this! Parents don't want this! The staff don't want this!"

Contact: Clive Smith 020 8303 3407 or 07802 958 554 or GMB Southern Press Office 07970 114 762