School strike on the cards

CAMPAIGNERS fighting the controversial bid to convert Kimberley School to an academy have announced that they are balloting for strike action.

Ian Stevenson, heading up the Save Kimberley School from Academy Status group, revealed that the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has given the school seven days’ notice of its intention to ask members to strike.

Mr Stevenson, who is Yorkshire and midlands organiser for the union, said that an early poll has shown that more than three quarters of members at the school are willing to strike over the move which would see the school run autonomously and outside of the control of Nottinghamshire County Council.

“The reason is we have already had a very good response in an indicative ballot of about 77 per cent in favour,” he said.

He said there were fears residents could lose access to the school playing fields and Kimberley Leisure Centre because the lease on both facilities, owned by the school, ends in 2012/13.

If the school converts to academy status, it will be up to the Academy Trust – an unelected body – to decide on public access to the facilities.

Headteacher Chris Teal was not available for comment about the proposed strike action.

School governors, county councillors, and headteachers from feeder primary schools have been invited to a public meeting on Tuesday December 13.

But Nuthall councillor and cabinet member for children and young person’s services Cllr Phillip Owen has turned down the invite because he is attending a Christmas concert the same night.

In an email seen by the Advertiser Cllr Owen wrote: “It is a matter for the school governors to decide on the way forward with regard to academy status application.”

Mr Stevenson said: “I think that as the councillor responsible for education, parents would be very interested in what he has to say. I understand he’s busy but there must be somebody from the county council who can come and explain the council’s policy.”

The meeting is at 7pm on Tuesday at Kimberley Parish Hall, Newdigate Street.