Leeds protest rally over academies

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A RALLY has been held in Leeds to protest against the Government’s plan to turn all state schools into academies.

The event held yesterday afternoon (March 23) was organised by the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

Protesters gathered in Dortmund Square, in Leeds, to make their voices heard.

Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget unveiled plans for all state funded schools to become academies by 2022. Schools which do not have plans in place to become academies by 2020 will be directed to do so by the Government. The Department for Education has said the academy system “empowers great teachers and leaders”. It said full academisation will mean that all schools will be part of a dynamic self-improving system.

However several teaching unions oppose the plan. Richard Raftery of the Leeds branch of the union said: “All schools will be forced to become academies during the next six years – no matter what the concerns of parents or staff are. The system of national pay and conditions will disappear. At the moment most academies stick to the school teachers’ pay and conditions document, but this will become increasingly irrelevant.

“All schools will be deprived of support as local authorities become marginalised.

“The NUT is seeking to build a coalition against this white paper and is working with other unions and politicians of all parties. Many governors and parents say they want to help.”

The Yorkshire Evening Post reported this week that Leeds City Council was holding urgent talks with schools across the city about the Government’s academies plan. The academies move will mean councils lose control of their schools but will retain responsibility for ensuring enough state school places are available.

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