TEACHERS’ unions in Bolton have joined forces to campaign against the Government’s academy programme, which has led to some borough schools breaking away from local authority control.

Bolton branches and associations of the NUT, NASUWT and ATL, together with Unison and the GMB unions, say they will fight to maintain Bolton’s “family of schools” and keep them within local council control.

They are urging parents, residents, councillors and MPs to support the campaign and are planning a series of meetings.

A number of schools in Bolton have already become academies or are seeking to become independent, statefunded schools. Three are run by outside sponsors.

Plodder Lane Primary School is earmarked to become Bolton’s first “forced academy” because of poor standards. Sponsors Northern Education are already in the Farnworth school helping to raise standards.

Other academy schools do not have sponsors because they are high performing.

Headteachers say becoming an academy allows them to create a more personalised curriculum for pupils.

But Barry Conway, secretary of the Bolton branch of the NUT, said: “Governors and headteachers are being shortsighted if they think Education Secretary Michael Gove has the interests of pupils at heart.”

Andrea Egan, assistant branch secretary of Unison added: “Academies are privatisation of our state schools. We only have to look at the railways to see who profits most from these privatisations and it is those at the top.

“What is wrong with a good local authority school?

There are a higher percentage of academies in special measures than there are schools run by local authorities.”

For more information about the campaign, call 01204 338901 or e-mail admin@unisonbolton.org