Australian teachers pledge ‘solidarity’ with Warren School in academy fight

Australian teachers' unions visit Warren School

Australian teachers' unions visit Warren School - Credit: Archant

Australian teachers’ unions have flown in to express “solidarity” with the Warren School in its fight against government plans to turn it into an academy.

A delegation from the Australian Education Union (AEU) visited the Warren last Wednesday to stand by the school as it waits for the results of a judicial review into the plans.

The visit comes after education secretary Michael Gove’s deputy, Lord Nash, wrote to the school saying it would force the it out of council hands, despite 85 per cent of respondents to a public consultation saying they opposed the move.

A joint statement from the unions’ top-brass said: “The AEU is deeply concerned at the attempt to impose academy status on the Warren Comprehensive School despite opposition from the local community.

“We wish to express our solidarity with the staff, parents, students and community, supported by their local authority, in their campaign to preserve a local, comprehensive school.”

They said they would warn their members in Australia about the UK government’s “regressive education policies” and tell them about the resistance waged by people in Barking and Dagenham.

The delegation included AEU federal president Angelo Gavrielatos, the AEU branch presidents in Victoria, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory, Maurie Mulheron, president of the New South Wales Teachers Federation, and Kevin Bates, president of the Queensland Teachers’ Union.

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The Department for Education says the school has “a sustained history of under-performance” after being put in special measures by Ofsted and that academy status would be in the best interest of the pupils.

But 85 per cent of respondents to the public consultation favoured the school remaining in local authority control and working with Robert Clack School to make improvements.

Dominic Byrne, NUT division secretary in Barking and Dagenham, said: “The interest of the AEU in the campaign to keep the Warren Comprehensive a locally accountable community school shows that this is a struggle of international significance.”

Jon Cruddas MP has said Michael Gove has treated the school with “absolute derision and contempt”.