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Darwen Vale school staff set to strike
STAFF at a high school are poised to go on strike after pleas for a community vote were unsuccessful.
Teachers at Darwen Vale High School could strike within weeks after a ballot saw support for strike action.
A decision to strike, over the forced academisation of the school, is expected to be formalised at a meeting on Monday.
Both Blackburn with Darwen Council and union leaders asked academy consultees to consider implementing a community vote on the issue of whether an academy is wanted.
The preferred sponsor The Aldridge Foundation and a company overseeing the consultation, Local Dialogue, are said to have refused the plan.
It comes after Blackburn with Darwen Council said parents should have more say.
Darwen Town Council has also voiced objections to the consultation process.
The formal change will come into place later this year, with the Aldridge Foundation, which runs Darwen Academy, as preferred sponsors.
Union leader Claire Ward, a Darwen Vale teacher and the regional representative for NASUWT, said she had yet to meet with staff to formalise the plan, but that a ballot had supported a strike, adding: “We haven’t met with staff, but they know of the plan to strike because we have already ballotted. Once we have, we need to give seven formal days notice of a strike.
“Right up to the end of term we were asking for there to be a true consultation, including taking a real vote on support for an academy. We don’t agree with academisation at all but it’s really all down to the lack of consultation.”
Education councillor at Blackburn with Darwen Council Dave Harling said: “A strike is often the result when a union feels there is nothing else can be done. I think it’s a shame that they are in this frustrating position. I just hope some resolution can be found and an agreement reached.”
The Aldridge Foundation said it would be inappropriate to comment.
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