First East End primary school to vote on opting out of local authority

The decision on whether the East End’s first primary school opts out of local authority control takes place at lunchtime tomorrow.

That’s when the eight school governors of Sir William Burrough Primary in Limehouse vote on whether to apply to the Government for ‘academy’ status.

The controversial vote follows an angry public meeting last night when teachers and parents campaigning against opting out held a protest at Dora community hall nearby.

The teachers’ union general secretary for Tower Hamlets, Alex Kenny (pictured), warned that opting out could have a ‘pack of cards’ effect with other schools across the East End which would collapse the local education authority.

“The Government wants all 97 schools to go it alone,” he said.

“The schools would no longer be accountable to a locally-elected authority, but to the Secretary of Sate.

“There’s no reason the rest won’t opt out if the school becomes an academy.

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“The funds it gets directly from Whitehall will be taken away from Tower Hamlets.”

The protest meeting voted to call for a secret ballot of all parents and another for teachers before the school opts out. But Head teacher Avril Newman rejected claims that opting out would empty out the coffers at the Town Hall.

“The authority keeps a lot of our funding through ‘top slicing’ to run its bureaucracy,” she told the East London Advertiser. “But the children desperately need that cash in an inner city area like this.”

Meanwhile, the governors meet when the school breaks up for the Summer holidays at 12 noon tomorrow and expect to have the result in an hour.