Unions fight academy plans

UNIONS GATHERING  ... ouitside  Boldon School as governors meet to decide whether to push for Academy status
UNIONS GATHERING ... ouitside Boldon School as governors meet to decide whether to push for Academy status
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TRADE unions are fighting against possible plans for a school to switch to academy status.

Governors at Boldon School met to consider proposals, which would mean the school being funded directly by the Government and managed outside South Tyneside Council control.

If the plans go ahead, the school in New Road, Boldon Colliery, would become the third in the borough to become an academy in just over a year, following in the footsteps of Whitburn CofE Academy and Monkton Juniors in South Shields.

Representatives of Unison, the GMB and South Tyneside Public Service Alliance, STPSA, staged an anti-academy protest outside the school during the governors’ meeting on Monday.

Gemma Taylor, a South Tyneside Unison representative, said: “We are against schools moving to academy status because it is taking them away from local authority care and provision, and it is a move towards privatisation.

“We were aware of the meeting taking place and saw it as a good opportunity to express our views.

“We believe it is in the best interests of pupils and staff if the school remains under local authority control.”

Miss Taylor said the school has not made any formal announcement about the possible plans and has not consulted parents.

She added: “The unions became aware that the school was assessing its options because we were invited in to give presentations to the board of governors about academies, which we are very much opposed to.

“It has been kept very low-key and they are not really engaging with parents.

“They are not obliged to consult with parents and this is one of our concerns.”

A spokesman for Boldon School said: “The governing body met last night to consider initial findings related to academy schools. The meeting discussed many issues and adjourned to continue their deliberations next week.”

Boldon School was judged as satisfactory following its latest inspection by education watchdog Ofsted in June 2010.

Last summer, its pupils secured the best GCSE results in the school’s history. An impressive 93 per cent of pupils achieved five A*-C grades – an increase of 13 per cent on 2010.

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