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Strike threat at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar
3:19pm Friday 8th June 2012 in Nelson
STAFF are preparing to ballot over industrial action as a top East Lancashire school revealed it is pushing ahead with plans to become an academy.
Around 40 teachers will be voting over taking action to fight Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School’s moves to open as an academy by October.
Governors have agreed to apply formally to the Department for Educ- ation to change the school from foundation to academy status.
Members of the National Assoc-iation of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers will vote bet-ween June 11 and 20. It is also understood the National Union of Teachers, which also represents teaching staff at the school, has undertaken an indicative ballot for similar action.
The moves come after more than 60 staff wrote to the chairman of gov- ernors expressing ‘grave’ concerns about the idea. They said they feared for the ‘children, parents, local community, standards of education and the long-term finan-cial viability of the school’.
Academies are funded by central government and are free from local authority control.
They are in charge of their own budget, curriculum, staff pay and conditions, and also admissions.
National executive member and Lancashire representative of the NAS/UWT, John Girdley said: “The governors promised us that if they would go forward with the academy bid, they would do so for sound educational reasons. We believe their stance has now antagonised staff at the school and this surely can only have detrimental effects on results.
“We would strongly urge the governors to think again. We believe Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School will be a better school, and can protect pay and results, without academy status.
“We are balloting our members now the governing body’s intention has become clear. Our members have expressed their wishes to protect their present status.”
In a letter to parents, chairman of governors David King said: “We shall be holding meetings with staff and be keeping pupils/ students informed.
“The governing body will not sign the funding agreement unless they are content that conversion would be in the best interests of the school taking account of all the legal and practical ramifications.”
A consultation meeting for parents and carers of pupils is taking place on June 12, at 7.30pm.
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