Friday, 19 October 2012


(Part of the audience at the packed meeting)
(Lorna Dunleavy Speaking - Sorry for poor quality of picture)

80 parents and members of the local community gathered together last monday (15th Oct) in a packed meeting to ask questions and demand answers about the proposed transfer of Newbold Riverside and Oakfield Primary School as an Academy to REAch2, a private company based nearly 100 miles in London - with the school building and land being given to this controversial company on a 125 years lease.

One of the organisers of the meeting, Lorna Dunleavy, a local parent from Newbold talked at the meeting about the lack of meaningful consultation with local parents and the local community by the school authorities and her opposition to the poorly thought out and risky idea of academies. Especially the poor choice of REAch2 who have come in for a great deal of criticism from the Teachers Unions and educational groups for the way they run schools.

Lorna said the Governors of both schools must involve the parents and the local community in planning the future of the schools and be open and transparent in the way they deal with the parents concerns.

Parents at the meeting, really for the first time were able to get a clear perspective on the pro's and cons of the move to become an academy and were also reminded that come November they will lose any right to have a say over day to day issues and the way the schools are run - including local people being removed as Governors.

Alasdair Smith from the Anti Academies Alliance explained the undemocratic nature of the move to academies and that it was part of the CONDEM Government attempt to privatise education in the same way they are attempting in the NHS.

The need for parents to attend the TUC demonstration against the cutis on the 20th October was raised by speakers from the platform and from the floor – Rugby Green Party members also leafleted the meeting with details of the protest.

(Alasdair Smith from the Anti Academies Alliance)
(Tony Souter from the National Union of Teachers)
Tony Souter and Anne Jones from the local NUT explained the threat to teaching standards and the aim to bring in untrained teaching staff in the school and asked parents to join with teachers in saying NO to academies.


Michael Gove the Education Minster was invited to the meeting as it would be him and his Department in London who local parents amazingly would need to contact if their was a problem at the school that could not be resolved by the new company and not Warwickshire County Council Education Department as is the case now. 

Michael Gove is also putting pressure on local Governors to go down this route of privatisation and parents thought it only fair if Gove explains himself in person – but he refused.

Rugby MP, Mark Pawsey (Tory) also did not attend to explain in person, why his Government thinks it such a good idea for primary schools in Rugby to be run by a private company in London.

(Lorna Dunleavy explains the situation to Will Duckworth)
Unlike Gove and Pawsey, Will Duckworth (Deputy Leader of the Green Party and former teacher) attended the meeting  (during a visit to Rugby to meet local members) and met Lorna Dunleavy earlier at her home to discuss the issues and how best he and Green Party can help at a local and national level with the fight to defend the two schools.
Parents made a clear demand at the meeting for the Governors to meet with them as a representative group to discuss their concerns and for the Governors to explain their actions - this was after parents were told they would only be seen individually by the Acting Head Teacher at Newbold Riverside.


It has been decided that the meeting with parents and governors will take place as originally planned at 7pm. Monday 22nd Oct at Newbold Riverside Primary. I urge all parents that are concerned to attend this meeting so that they can ask any questions regarding academy conversion. If you are unable to make the meeting then please contact Julie, Zoe or me with any points you would like us to raise. We have reached a crutial stage in our campaign. This is the biggest change in state education since the 1940's. We have a duty our children and to future generations of children to do everything in our power to resist the change. Keep the pressure on!

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