Teachers strike over Stevenage school takeover plans

Barclay School teachers took strike action this morning, and were joined by parents, sixth-formers,

Barclay School teachers took strike action this morning, and were joined by parents, sixth-formers, local NEU representative Jill Borcherds and other members of the community. Picture: Jim Brown - Credit: Archant

Teachers, parents, students and union representatives gathered in Stevenage this morning to demostrate against plans to turn The Barclay School into an academy.

The strike comes two days after a 1,500-signature petition was presented to the Department for Education.

Barclay was put under an academy order by the DfE after it was rated inadequate by Ofsted in 2016 and placed in special measures.

A multi-academy trust is set to take over the school in January.

However, parents and the wider community are desperate to stop the academisation because, under a new headteacher and senior leadership team, the school has progressed to ‘requires improvement’ with elements of ‘good’.

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Many of those on the picket line outside the school in Walkern Road were teachers, whose decision to strike “was not taken lightly”. Others included Councillor Joshua Bennett Lovell – Herts County Council member for Old Stevenage – community members, parents, sixth-formers, and National Education Union representatives.

Jill Borcherds of the NEU said: “We have been overwhelmed by the local support received today to keep our school local. Our demand is very simple: let us continue with the job of teaching our children and improving our community school by lifting this unnecessary academy order.”

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The petition to the DfE was started by parent Amanda Feagan and can still be signed on change.org by searching for ‘Hands Off Barclay’.

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