TEACHERS issued a rallying cry against forced academisation of schools yesterday and gave unanimous support to strike action.
ATL delegates condemned the government’s white paper as “an attack on democracy,” calling for campaigns against it to be stepped up including potential industrial action.
Cheshire delegate Greg Foster indicated the union would stand shoulder to shoulder with the NUT in resisting the Tory policy.
The NUT agreed to ballot for strike action over forced academisation at their conference two weeks ago.
“When the NUT goes out to defend our schools, we will stand with them,” he said.
Former ATL president Mark Baker accused the government of failing to provide a shred of evidence to prove academisation improves schools.
And he likened the government’s attitude to teachers to General Melchett “of Blackadder fame” — a caricature of World War I general Douglas Haig, who sent troops to their deaths.
“We are a profession of lions led by donkeys,” he said.
In her keynote address earlier, general secretary Dr Mary Bousted turned her ire on forced academisation.
“We know it’s not about education standards,” she said.
“It’s about running schools as businesses and it’s about breaking the public service ethos of teachers and school leaders arguing it’s not about education standards.”
Ms Bousted said there has never been a better time for a co-ordinated response from all education unions.
She added: “Alone, we can do something. Together, we can do great things.
We must fight together to protect our profession for the sake of the children and young people whose education depends on us.
“And we will fight and if we fight together with parents and councillors, with other unions with politicians, with governors with the whole civil society which opposes the madness of forced academisation, then we will win.”
ATL is now the third teaching union to oppose the government’s plan to turn every school into an academy.
A Department for Education statement issued after the motion was passed read: “It’s disappointing that the ATL would rather play politics with our children’s future than work constructively with us to deliver our vision for educational excellence everywhere.”
However, Mr Baker suggested that the white paper be renamed “educational excellence all over the place.”