News from Len Duvall OBE: Local AM joins picket line to support Halley Academy striking staff

14 May 2019

Local London Assembly Member, Len Duvall AM, joined strike action today (Tuesday) outside Halley Academy in Kidbrooke to support protests against proposed staffing cuts at the school. Members of GMB, Unison and the National Education Union (NEU), alongside local councillors were also on the picket line. Mr Duvall backed the protests, saying he has “significant concerns” towards the scale of Halley Academy’s plans to cut staff.

 

Halley Academy is planning to cut 19 members of staff, including teaching assistants, learning mentors and support staff, after placing them on gardening leave.

 

The Kidbrooke-based academy, taken over by Leigh Academy Trust last year, has attributed financial pressures as the main driver behind their decision to make these redundancies. The cuts will reportedly save the school £600,000 from their budget.

 

However, protestors on the picket lines striking outside the Halley Academy, have highlighted their concerns over the vacuum of support for pupils with special educational needs likely to be left behind by the staffing cuts.

 

This is the fourth time that staff, backed by Unison, GMB and the NEU, have taken strike action on this issue.

 

At Mayor’s Question Time in March, Mr Duvall raised the redundancies at Halley Academy with the Mayor of London, stating that “We rightly talk about and value the support that we give to teachers in our schools. We very rarely give it to support staff”.

 

The Mayor responded that reducing support staff in schools is one of the factors that contributes “to a situation where young Londoners are not having their potential fulfilled”.

 

Local London Assembly Member, Len Duvall AM, said:

 

“Whilst it is important to acknowledge the considerable financial pressures being placed upon London’s schools by almost a decade of Government austerity, there are significant concerns that the scale of Halley Academy’s plans to cut staff is disproportionate and ill-thought out.

 

“If these cuts go ahead, there is a real danger they will decimate the existing level of support for pupils with special education needs.

 

“I am backing the strike today and members of Unison, GMB and the NEU to add my voice to the growing chorus calling upon Halley Academy to work towards a sensible solution in good faith and rebuild the trust of their teaching and support staff, who have been badly let down during this process”.

Notes to editors

 

  • Halley Academy is planning to cut 19 members of staff, including teaching assistants, learning mentors and support staff, after placing them on gardening leave;
     
  • Halley Academy has attributed financial pressures as the main driver behind their decision to make these redundancies;
     
  • The full transcript from the Mayor’s Question Time meeting that took place on 21st March 2019 can be found attached to this release. The comments of Len Duvall AM and the Mayor of London concerning the redundancies being made at Halley Academy can be read on pages 30-31 of the transcript;
     
  • Len Duvall AM is the London Assembly Member for Greenwich and Lewisham.

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