NUT calls for council ballot over Sydney Russell

Sydney Russell School in Dagenham

Sydney Russell School in Dagenham - Credit: Archant

As the academy consultation on the Sydney Russell School nears its final week, a local NUT leader is calling on the council to ballot parents directly.

While the school insists a final decision will not be made until the conclusion of the consultation – midday on Friday, January 16, 2015 – a target conversion date has already been set for February 1 2015.

Although a drop-in session was held for parents last month, NUT borough branch secretary Dominic Byrne insists the council have a duty to gauge public opinion themselves, as they did during the consultation stage at Dorothy Barley Junior School.

“What is the point of a council motion being passed if it isn’t maintained,” he told the Post.

“No balloting of parents has been announced so far, but this needs to happen with a decision of this size.”

A motion passed in December 2013 states: “The council believes that parents should have the final say on the status of their children’s school, and so calls on any school consulting on whether or not to become an Academy – whether through choice or by direction – to hold a ballot of parents.”

Despite emailling all 51 members of Barking and Dagenham Council directly back in mid-December, Mr Byrne claims he only received two acknowledgements at the time of going to press.

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If plans go ahead the Parsloes Avenue comprehensive will follow in the footsteps of Dorothy Barley Junior School and the Warren in making the transition.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The council expects Sydney Russell School to make sure the voice of parents is clearly heard in their consultation.

“This freedom was denied to parents at Dorothy Barley and Warren School because the Secretary of State was forcing the schools to become academies.

“We would encourage parents to make sure the school is aware of their views by responding to the individual letters sent out to them.”

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