Staff members at the Gunnersbury Lane school, which was given an Ofsted rating of “inadequate” in February 2017, are protesting ahead of the school being turned into an academy.
Ark, an education charity, has been lined up as the academy sponsor to take over the running of the school in September, something which Acton High teachers believe will “devastate the school”.
While unhappy that the school is being turned into an academy at all they are particularly angry that Ark has been lined up to take over.
Speaking to getwestlondon on Monday (April 16), a National Education Union representative said teachers are planning a one-day strike both this week and next.
Teachers will walk out on Thursday (April 19) and next Tuesday (April 24), and have committed to escalating strike action if another academy sponsor is not found.
During the weeks commencing April 30 and May 7, teachers are said to be planning to strike for two days. Three days of strikes are planned for the weeks commencing May 14 and May 21.
The three-day pattern of strike action will continue until Ealing Council “looks into an alternative sponsor for Acton High School”, a spokesman for Ealing NEU said.
Elected NEU Ealing divisional secretary Stefan Simms said: “Members are calling for strike action because they believe [turning the school into an academy] will devastate the school.
“Teachers do not want to see the school fall into the hands of Ark. Staff think Ark is not the solution for the problems in the school, they believe it will make things worse than they are at the moment.”
However, an Ark spokesman said that its network of schools “work together closely” and suggested Acton High would thrive under the support which would be provided.
“Acton High would definitely benefit from strong links with our other Ark schools in the local area. We’re confident that we are in a great position to support staff and students at the school to achieve,” the spokesman told getwestlondon .
“The school has some great strengths upon which we want to build. Ark is one of the top multi-academy trusts in the country and has a strong track record of improving schools.
“Most of the schools that join the network come to Ark rated inadequate or in special measures. Yet 23 of 25 are now performing at higher national rankings, most of them considerably so, and none remain in special measures.
“Last year, 81% of Ark students went to university, compared to a national average of 48%. Ark has held a number of meetings with staff at Acton High, and we will continue to talk to staff and listen to their concerns.”
Ahead of the Easter holiday, head teacher Ken Mackenzie and deputy head Rebekah Salmon were suspended by the governing body “to allow for further enquiries" over concerns which are “not linked to current strike action”.
An Ealing Council spokesman said on Monday (April 16) that the internal process is ongoing and that the local authority is “unable to comment” further at this time.
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