Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Academy school site occupied again to save recreation ground

SchNews, 11th July

"Locals object to the loss of the public recreation ground, and privatised schools, but it's also about the increased traffic problems, and the fact that Brent Council is allowing another school to be built in the northern part of the borough when there is already three large secondary schools, while neglecting the poorer, south part of the borough, which saw four schools closed in the 1990s." - Protester at Wembley tent city.

The site was occupied last year for 6 months by teachers, students and residents setting up tree houses (See SchNEWS 584, 603) in the longest running protest in the country against privatised Academy schools.

The proposed Wembley Park Academy school site in West London was re-occupied last week after the Brent Council took the lease away from the community sports ground - with immediate effect - as work was due to begin to get classrooms ready for the school, due to open this September. They have been given eviction papers, and are in Willesden County Court, Acton Lane, Harlesden, next Tuesday (15th) at 10.30am - so from that point onwards they may be facing the bailiffs, and will need urgent help.

The venture capitalists behind this Academy call themselves The Ark - which stands for Absolute Return for Kids (sic, and sick). The Ark is a group of hedge fund speculators who already have one privatised Academy school, three to follow, with plans for many more. They are headed by Arki Busson, a French multi-millionaire playboy who's recently engaged to actress Uma Thurman.

This school is due to begin its first year by offering students the old community sports hall - recently acquired, and in appalling condition - and a load of porta-cabin classrooms. During 2009 the new buildings will be constructed on the recreation ground, so for the first year students will be in porta-cabins in the middle of a building site.

* The camp is urgently requesting people - particularly those with experience in direct action, tents, and all the usual protest camp tat, particularly after Tuesday's court hearing.

* Directions: From the Wembley Park tube station, turn left, walk up the hill to main junction on Bridge Road, turn left, walk 100 metres, and turn left into the gate way to Wembley Park Sports Ground.