Teacher union meets councillors in bid to stop East End school ‘opt out’

Teacher union bosses are meeting councillors today in their campaign to stop one of the biggest secondary schools in London’s East End opting out of local authority control.

Talks have been arranged by the NUT East London Teachers’ Association with members of Tower Hamlets Council to test support.

The union wants to stop Bethnal Green Technical College steaming ahead with plans to become one of the Government’s new independently-run academies, especially after its recent �17 million revamp paid for out of public funds.

“Switching to ‘academy’ status is totally inappropriate in a deprived area like the East End,” the union’s Tower Hamlets secretary Alex Kenny told the East London Advertiser today.

“I don’t believe the local authority is behind this move—that’s what we are finding out with today’s meeting.”

The union is worried that if Bethnal Green Technology opts out, other East End schools would follow.

The funds to run ‘academy’ schools would be taken away from Tower Hamlets’ hard-pressed budget, the unions point out.

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“It would also mean handing over �17m of public assets at Bethnal Green to a private company lock, stock and barrel,” added Mr Kenny.

The school, meanwhile, is running a three-week public consultation. The union plans to picket an open community meeting on the issue, being held at the school in Gosset Street, off Columbia Road, on Monday evening.