The backbone of any campaign is the action it takes. Your aim in taking action is to raise awareness of the issues, build support for the campaign and ultimately to influence or win-over the decision-makers.
Many people will not know how changing to Academy status will affect them or their children. When they do, most people will be supportive of your campaign. Just about everyone will support the principle of full and fair consultation.
- Create a leaflet to inform people of the issues and encourage them to contact the school with their concerns and participate in any consultation process the school may have begun. Make sure you include a contact email for your campaign.
- Ask unions to print the leaflets for you.
- Print leaflets in batches, for example 500 a time and be prepared to update and re-print your leaflet to reflect developments as your campaign proceeds.
- Get help with distributing your leaflet to the school community. Local activists eg. a local anti-cuts group might be able to help with leafleting.
Start a petition – both paper-based and online. Digital petitions are useful for getting things started – we used digital democracy – but paper-based petitions will grow faster if you are active in your petitioning.
- Consider making consultation the focus of your first petition. Most people will support the concept of fair consultation, even if they don’t (yet) oppose Academy conversion itself.
- Collect names, postcode, email address on the petition. A contact address/email is vital for building a mailing list and for recruiting active members to your campaign group.
- Ask for connection to the school (eg. parent, community, student, teacher, prospective parent). This help you to target relevant groups and will give your petition more weight when you submit it to the school.
Keep asking questions
The questions asked and the way in which they are answered could be critical to any future legal challenge.
- Ask as many questions as possible and challenge the Governors on anything you are not happy about.
- Encourage supporters to ask questions – the more individuals respond the better.
- Keep a record of questions asked and answered
- Periodically send a list of unanswered questions to the Governors and demand answers.
Hold a public meeting
- Ask the Governors to hold a public meeting with speakers for and against so stakeholders can hear both sides of the argument. If they refuse, arrange your own meeting.
- Find a venue
- Invite a speaker, for example from the Anti Academies Alliance, to present the arguments against conversion. Invite the Governing Body to speak or to provide a speaker to present the arguments for conversion.
- Publicise your meeting – create a leaflet, inform the local press & community websites.
Lobby a Governors meeting
- Make banners and conduct a protest at the school gates
- Have leaflets ready to hand to Governors as they arrive for the meeting.
- Consider asking the Governors to allow a campaign representative to attend the meeting.