Teachers from Acton High School walked out on Tuesday (March 26) to mark the start of significant strike action which a union representative called “unprecedented”.
Staff formed a picket line outside the school in Gunnersbury Lane on Tuesday after balloting for strike action, which will continue on Wednesday (March 28) and into the summer term.
Teachers at Acton High School, which was given an Ofsted rating of “inadequate” in February 2017, reportedly have “serious concerns about senior staff members' ability to run the school”.
Speaking to getwestlondon ahead of the strike, elected NEU Ealing divisional secretary and national executive member Stefan Simms said this level of strike action is “unprecedented”.
He 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 [the education provider that it is believed will run the school if it becomes an academy].
“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.
“This level of strike action is unprecedented – the amount asked for by the school membership is the most ever asked for in the entire history of the union.
“Staff have serious concerns about senior staff members' ability to run the school and feel for the students that it has been allowed to deteriorate to this stage.”
The Mirror reported in January 2018 that Acton High School is one of the worst performing schools in England after figures showed it failed to meet the government's minimum standards.
Schools fall below the government's performance threshold if pupils fail to make enough progress across eight subjects, with particular weight given to English and maths.
In the school's last Ofsted report , inspectors said: “Leaders and governors do not ensure that safeguarding is effective. The school’s systems to keep children safe are not robust.
“Leaders and governors have not acted quickly enough to improve the quality of education for pupils. In many subjects progress is inadequate and there is little sign of improvement.”
'Little choice but to become an academy'
Speaking to getwestlondon on Tuesday (March 27), a spokesman for Ealing Council said it is “disappointing that strike action has been called” by staff members.
“The NEU know the school has very little choice in moving to academy status, a decision taken by the Schools Minister,” the council spokesman said.
“The senior leadership team and governing body are ensuring full consultation with the local school community to inform this process.
“Parents and carers are being advised and the students in years 11, 12 and 13 will be in school during this vital run up to GCSE and A-level exams.
“The school leadership team will also provide supervision and additional pupil exam classes over the Easter break.”
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