Union Continues Industrial Action Against 'Kids in Prison' Academy

More disruption for pupils as attempt is made to block Ark takeover of Acton High


Industrial Action at Acton High School

Consultation Over Future Of Acton High School

Acton High School

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Eight more days of industrial action are taking place at Acton High School as part of a bid by the National Education Union (NEU) to prevent the Ark group taking over Acton High School (AHS).

acton high school

Teachers who are members of the union at the school have taken strike action this Wednesday and Thursday (9 and 10 May) and further action is planned on 22, 23, 24 May and 5, 6, & 7 June. The latest strike action has resulted in the school being closed to Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 students this week.

The school on Gunnersbury Lane is in Special Measures following the latest inspection and the Governors had resolved to hand control over to the Ark network after discussions with the Department for Education and Ealing Council. The NEU are not objecting to an academy takeover in principle but say that they believe Ark is an unsuitable partner for the school

The Ark network operates 35 schools across England including two primary schools in the Acton area, the Ark Byron and the Ark Priory.-25 of the schools joined needing improvement. The charity was founded in 2002 as Absolute Returns for Kids in 2002 by a group of hedge fund managers with the aim of closing the achievement gap between disadvantaged children and those from a more privileged background.


The NEU describe Ark as being owned by hedge fund speculators and believe they are unsuitable to run the school and will make conditions much worse for both children and staff. They say turnover of staff at the network’s schools is ‘incredibly’ high due to bullying, excessive workload, and poor pay compared to local authority schools. Ark do not publish their retention rate and the union claim that over 50% of staff leave every year. They also describe Ark’s teaching philosophy as a US originated one which is a combination of ‘Gradgrind’ plus computers. Ark describe it as a "Knowledge is Power Programme" whereas the union say critics call it "Kids In Prisons Programme”. Ark’s approach has a greater focus on literacy and numeracy and a teaching method based on direct instruction rather than interaction between students and a much more rigid code of discipline. The union says that academies exclude students at six times the rate of local authority schools and they do not publish exclusion rates for children with Special Educational Needs.

Ark dispute the claims and say they will continue to talk and listen to staff concerns. They have agreed to a meeting with the union about the takeover.

The union are holding a public rally against the Ark takeover by St Mary's Church, 1 The Mount, W3 9NW (Opposite Morrisons) on Wednesday 16 May at 6.45pm.

May 10, 2018


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