Teachers have held three days of strike action against plans by an Enfield primary school to join an academy chain.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) took part in the strikes last week (February 26 to 28) to oppose Galliard School governors’ decision to form a multi-academy trust (MAT) with four other schools in the borough.

The NEU raised concerns that the schools were “riding roughshod over the wishes of staff and parents” in the drive to become academies and questioned the supposed benefits of the move.

Academies are government-funded schools that are independent of local authority control and can also raise funds through sponsorship deals.

Wilbury Primary, Brettenham Primary, Fleecefield Primary and Raynham Primary are the other schools in the proposed MAT.

A statement by the NEU said: “Galliard School is currently run by the local authority and, as such, is accountable to the local community.

“A move to academy status would end that accountability, with the school effectively being run on a business model with a CEO and unelected trustees.

“In addition, the land currently occupied by each of the five schools – public land belonging to the local authority – would be leased to the trust free of charge for 125 years – land that in some cases includes extensive playing fields, such as that attached to Galliard School.”

Galliard School, which is in Edmonton, claims there is recent evidence that children in converter academies do better than those in maintained schools and ‘forced’ academies.

But the NEU says a House of Commons education committee found that “there is no evidence that academy conversion improves attainment for primary pupils”.

The union also claims academies can have “statistically proven” detrimental effects on disadvantaged pupils and make more use of unqualified teachers.

Cllr Nesil Caliskan, leader of Enfield Council, is campaigning against academisation.

She said: “I am really clear that we should resist academisation as much as possible. Where efforts should lie is in providing funding for schools.

“Any change should be motivated by outcomes for children. There is now evidence to show academisation is purely ideological and nothing to do with outcomes.”

But Alison Devonish, chairman of governors at Galliard, claimed views of leaders, staff and parents had been taken into consideration and stressed some had backed the decision.

She said governors had to “make decisions that we feel are right for the school based on the facts and details that we are presented with and have researched”.

Ms Devonish said: “While we respect the rights of the unions and acknowledge the valuable role they play in the education sector, we are disappointed about the accuracy of some of the information that is being presented.

“We would like to assure our community that our governors have not taken the decision to reach the point that we have lightly.

“There have been many hours of debates, discussions and meetings, both as an individual group and with the proposed new trust, to help us formulate a plan that we believe puts our school in the best possible position for the future.

“We have listened to the views of our leaders, staff and parents extensively throughout this process.

“What this has shown, is that while there are people who oppose the plan, there are also people who are very supportive as well. It is right to acknowledge this.

“I hope that, whatever our views are, it is clear that we all share a joint passion for supporting the children and young people of Edmonton.”