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Worthing academy bid could end in strike
3:30pm Tuesday 1st May 2012 in News
Teachers could strike in opposition to a high school’s academy plans, according to union leaders.
West Sussex Anti-Academies said new staff at Worthing High School could be offered different terms and conditions.
James Ellis, from Unison, which is part of the opposition group, said the move would create a “two-tier” workforce.
He said: “The basis for conversion made in the school’s proposals is both weak and misleading. By offering new staff different terms and conditions, a two-tier workforce will be created at Worthing High, raising the prospect of strike action, instability and long-term decline.”
However, Alison Beer, the headteacher at the school, said the move would give them total control over their budget and allow them to invest in facilities such as improving ICT facilities.
The school, in South Farm Road, is currently run by West Sussex County Council and began a consultation this month on whether it should apply for academy status.
Mr Ellis said the local authority would have greater buying power and argued that the school would not be better off as an academy.
He said: “There are only 16 academies in West Sussex, after three years of the council encouraging schools to convert.
“There are none in Worthing. The school’s claim that it will collaborate with other local academies does not stand up to scrutiny. The nearest academy to Worthing High is Sir Robert Woodard in Lancing.
“This school has been placed in special measures of Ofsted which exposes the myth that becoming an academy is a magic solution to a school’s poor performance.”
Mrs Beer said: “The Department for Education said we are a good school and are eligible for academy status. It is about giving children a better education.”
The anti-academies group will hold a public meeting on the issue at St Mary’s Church, Broadwater Road, Worthing, on May 3 at 7.30pm.