CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Union members consider strike action at academy switch school

Swiss Cottage School is considering becoming the first in Camden to break away from council control

13 February, 2017

Swiss Cottage School

UNION members are sounding out interest in possible industrial action at a school considering becoming the first in Camden to break away from council control to form an academy, the New Journal understands.

While there is no formal ballot in front of support staff at Swiss Cottage School in Avenue Road, Swiss Cottage, sources said there was concern about what would happen to them if the switch went ahead.

Unison is the largest represented union at the school, as there are a large number of support staff employed to help with children with specialist needs. The unrest follows a consultation on the proposal which ended last week.

School principal Vijita Patel told the New Journal last month that the idea was based on trying to expand services to more children with special needs. The outstanding-rated school is looking at whether academy status could enable it to set up a multi-academy trust, known as a MAT, with provision extended to new sites.

But Gerald Clark, from the National Union of Teachers, also represented at the school, said: “Even with capital funding from the government these extra schools wouldn’t necessarily be in Camden and, regardless, such an expansion would change the nature of the school.

“The governors and senior leadership would become executives in a big business, where pupil places are a commodity for extra funding.”

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