Clapton Girls’ Academy consultation branded ‘undemocratic’

Proposals to transform one of Hackney’s only remaining girls’ schools into either an Academy or a Trust school sparked threats of strike action this week.

A consultation on the future of Clapton Girls’ Technology College in Laura Place, Lower Clapton, came under fire as a teachers’ union branded it ‘undemocratic’.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) condemned a questionnaire, which asks families and staff at Clapton Girls’ and nearby primary schools their views on the school either becoming a charitable foundation funded by the Learning Trust, or an Academy – independent from the local education authority.

Trade unionists have criticised the school for not consulting on a ‘no change’ option, and failing to both properly inform feeder schools and provide the survey in different languages.

Mark Lushington, Hackney’s NUT representative, said: “We have spoken to parents’ groups and individuals and they feel they are being bounced.”

“Unless we get the satisfaction of a proper consultation - in which views on all options are allowed to be expressed - and a democratic process where all feeder schools are fully informed, we are looking at what can only be described as a collision course with the school governing body.”

“They are trying to deliberately take get the school out of local authority control.”

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Eighty-four per cent of teachers at Clapton Girls’ voted to strike last November if a decision was made to turn it into an Academy.

A spokeswoman for the school said: ““We are disappointed that the union feels the need to make threats of strike action when we have actively sought their views through the consultation.

“The school would remain firmly embedded within the local community whatever the outcome of the consultation.

“Our sole concern is the best interests of and outcomes for our students whom, we feel, will potentially suffer if we stand still in the midst of a changing educational landscape . Needless to say, it would not be in the student’s interests for staff to strike at any time but particularly when students are preparing for their exams.”

She said the consultation had been sent to every primary school in Hackney and it that could be provided in other languages on request.

She also reassured parents that Clapton Girls’ would remain single sex regardless of the outcome.