Radical plans to bring in a private company to manage Bradford's schools have become a hot topic at the teaching unions' annual Easter conferences.

One of the three major unions has already voted to condemn the move and the other two look set to follow.

This week at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference in Belfast, Bradford secretary Stuart Herdson proposed an emergency vote on the issue.

"I warned the conference about the way it has been done behind the backs of councillors, head teachers, pupils and parents," he said

The resolution stated that the conference viewed the proposed privatisation of education services in Bradford with alarm. It was supported by delegates from Leeds and Leicester where similar plans are on the table.

It warned that the move could spell the end of local authority-controlled education in Britain and was passed unanimously.

A similar motion will be put before the conference of the National Union of Teachers in Harrogate on Monday by local secretary Ian Murch.

The Bradford secretary of the National Association of Teachers and Union of Women Teachers, Ian Davey, says he will raise the issue at the union's conference in Llandudno, also on Monday.

He plans to ask the union to consider taking action on the issue. "I would expect our leadership to be totally against it, as would any person used to working with local authorities," he said.

The controversial proposals are for a private company to take over the management of the district's schools, overseen by a partnership board instead of councillors.

According to Council leader, Councillor Ian Greenwood, head teachers in the district have taken a different view to the teaching unions and welcomed the plans.

Meanwhile City Hall union Unison is asking 8,000 members to attend a mass protest at St George's Hall, Bradford, next month.

e-mail: william.stewart@


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