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St Matthew’s primary school anti-academy strike reaches 13th day

Posted on - 27th January, 2022 - 10:32am | Author - | Posted in - Education, Fishwick, Politics, Preston News, Schools, St Matthews
St Matthews CofE Primary School. Pic: Google

Teaching union members protesting a decision to turn St Matthew’s CofE Primary School into an academy have today reached their 13th day of strike action.

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42 members of the National Education Union (NEU) represent the majority of staff at the New Hall Lane schoolwith the strike attempting to save the school from privatisation.

The move follows a decision by the governing body in the face of strong opposition from staff, parents, and the wider community.

Read more: St Matthews primary school anti-academy campaign to lobby Bishop of Blackburn 

NEU Senior Regional Officer Jim Dye said: “We are immensely proud of the massive fight our members at St Matt’s have undertaken to defend their school.

“We have been shocked by how out of touch the governing body has been. And how it went into hiding following the decision to turn the school into an academy.

“They refused to engage in talks with NEU to find solutions to resolve the dispute and end the strike.”

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Following a morning picket at the school, strikers will hold a protest rally outside Blackburn Cathedral from 10am.

They said they aim to highlight the failures of the Bishop of Blackburn and the Blackburn Diocese to resolve the dispute and draw attention to the accountable church-appointed governors’ lack of action to support staff and the community.

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Preston NEU Secretary Ian Watkinson said: “The mainly church-appointed governing body of St Matt’s have shown complete disregard for the wishes and feelings of staff, parents and the wider community.

“Many of these foundation governors do not live locally to the school and have shown no understanding of the damage they have needlessly inflicted on our members and the school.

“It has highlighted to us that the church itself needs to get its house in order so that their governors serve their schools and communities and not business interests.”

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