Strike is avoided at academy bid school

NILALM110503F1 - Friesland school Sandiacre
NILALM110503F1 - Friesland school Sandiacre
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STRIKE action over a Sandiacre secondary school’s plan to convert to an academy has been averted.

Following a meeting at Friesland School early on Wednesday morning with headteacher Peter Monk and the chair of governors, teachers’ union NASUWT agreed to call off its three days of strike action planned for today (Thursday), Tuesday May 10 and Wednesday May 11.

In a joint statement, Mr Monk said that he has agreed not to make a decision to apply for academy status before October 1 this year, at the earliest.

He has also agreed to extend the consultation period and provide documents about the consultation process to the union, which has asked for them.

He said: “In the event of the governing body making a decision to convert to an academy, an academy order and funding agreement will not be signed until December 1, 2011 at the earliest.”

Dave Wilkinson from the union said: “We are happy because it has avoided strike action but it’s not the end of our campaign at all.

“We will be campaigning in the area and in the community and trying to persuade the governors to drop the academy plan completely.”

He said that by December, a move to academy status will be ‘far less attractive’ as schools will not be awarded as much Government cash as they would be if they apply sooner.

A document on the school’s website states that it is eligible to apply for academy status after it was rated as ‘good with outstanding features’ by Ofsted.

If the Nursery Avenue school does convert it would leave St John Houghton Catholic School in Kirk Hallam as the only remaining school on the Advertiser’s patch not considering becoming an academy or having already taken itself outside of the control of Derbyshire County Council.