Preston primary school staff strike over academy plans

Teachers from St Matthew’s Church of England Primary School in Preston are striking today over plans to turn the school into an academy.  

Strike organiser and teacher Julie Copeland says the proper consultation period required to academise was not followed, and the deal was “rushed through.”

She added that the school governors have not given proper justification for the deal, with the main reason being to avoid OFSTED rankings.

Mrs Copeland said: “When you’re an academy, [OFTSED] leave you alone for two years. We know we’re a ‘requires improvement’ school, but we work really hard and we don’t think this is right for our children.

“We’ve got 41 staff out on strike, so that shows how much the teachers are against it.”

The teachers headed to Blackburn to protest outside Cidari Headquarters, the company planning to take control of St. Matthew’s.

Teachers from St. Matt’s protest outside The Blackburn Diocese building Clayton House. Twitter: @BenSingleton86

Cidari, which has multiple schools as part of its academy trust, claims that academisation is a decision taken by school governors, and it does not try to influence this decision in any way.

However, Mrs Copeland said: “The governors won’t engage with [the teachers] at all, we’ve tried and tried but they won’t talk to us.

“We are telling the academy to leave the school alone, leave St Matthew’s in the community, and let the people who know about St. Matthew’s run St. Matthew’s.”

The teachers plan to be on strike for a further three days next week.