May 22 2013 Latest news:
Sara Odeen-Isbister , Senior Reporter
Monday, July 2, 2012
Teachers will stage a one day strike in protest over plans to merge their community school with a faith school.
The 14 members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), who work at Village Infants School, in Ford Road, Dagenham have voted in an NUT ballot to walk on Thursday.
They are against proposals by Barking and Dagenham Council to amalgamate Village Infant and William Ford C of E Junior, also in Ford Road, to form a Voluntary Aided C of E primary school.
Teachers and parents concerns centre on the fact voluntary aided faith schools are allowed to discriminate against pupils on religious grounds. They fear non-religious children could be turned away if the merger goes ahead.
They also believe the two schools, which have both performed well in recent years, could suffer as they adjust to the new formation and teachers are unhappy that they are being forced to work for a new employer.
A petition against the proposals was signed by more than 700 people.
One of the teachers, Yolanda Cattle, said she and her colleagues did not take the decision to strike lightly:
“We don’t want to disrupt the pupils or their families, but we feel this may be the only way the council will listen to us,” she said. “We’ve tried talking to them and we don’t seem to have been taken seriously.”
The council and the head of William Ford, Duncan Ramsay, say the schools, which sit beside one another will benefit from a unified vision if amalgamated.