Teachers in thirteen primary schools in Birmingham are being balloted for strike action against plans to force them to become academy schools.
NUT and NASUWT, the two largest teaching unions, are issuing the strike ballot to members in an attempt to halt the expansion of the academies program through conversions. Academies are publicly funded, but run independent of local authorities and amount to the creeping privatisation of state schools.
Although there were less than 300 academies nationally in 2010, there are now over 1,700. The Birmingham strike ballot is the latest in a trend of schools fighting academy conversions.
Education secretary, Michael Gove had criticized teachers at Montgomery Primary in Birmingham, for striking twice, after he and forced the school to convert, against overwhelming wishes of staff, pupils, and parents, saying, “It’s wrong for teachers to go out on strike when people are offering them support for their school.”
He described opponents of the conversion of Downhills School in Tottenham, London, as 'enemies of promise' and 'Trots spoiling for a fight'.
Birmingham Post lists the balloted schools as being:
* Erdington Hall Primary School
* Jervoise Junior School
* Northfield Manor Primary School
* Westminster Primary School
* Hobmoor Primary School
* Mansfield Green Junior and Infant School
* Tame Valley Junior School
* Tiverton Primary School
* West Heath Primary School
* Billesley Primary School
* Chivenor Junior and Infant School
* Matthew Boulton Primary School
* City Road Primary School
Gove is reported to be targetting 30 primaries in Birmingham.
For more info on academies, see Libcom.org's articles on academies.