"No child should face this kind of insecurity and neglect..." Oasis Christmas begging letter
Flags flew, passing cars beeped support and spirits were high on the picket line outside Oasis Academy MediaCityUK yesterday as teachers from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and NASUWT The Teachers' Union, staged a fourth day of strikes against the loss of 13 teaching staff.
Seven of the staff have now either got fixed up with other jobs or taken voluntary redundancy but six teachers are being forced to leave before Christmas at the former Hope High School on Eccles Old Road.
Now, timetables for pupils doing GCSEs next spring will be thrown into chaos, as the teachers' trade unions insist that Oasis could have solved the dispute for what is, in the company's terms, a minimal amount of money.
"We had a phone conference with the head of Oasis and they led us to believe there was a possibility of a settlement" says Joe Langley from NASUWT
"At first Oasis said that it would cost £280,000 to keep our members on at the school until August but we got it down to £115,000" he explains "But the Government wouldn't put up any money and neither would Oasis, whose budget is millions of pounds. For them, £115,000 is peanuts but they wouldn't go the extra 500 yards to do it.
"It's ended up with six of my members being made redundant at Christmas and it's a disaster" he adds "They're not going to get another job in January, and for the kids, they've got to completely re-jig their timetable half way through the year. This is on the back of the best results this school has ever had last June and moving into a brand new school in September. It's going to wreck the place. They couldn't manage a whelk stall this lot."
Meanwhile, NUT rep, Lesley Auger, says that Oasis could have transferred surpluses from its other schools to solve the crisis but have refused…
"Ten Oasis academies in 2010 had surplus budgets and the master funding agreement from the Department of Education states that 2% of any rollovers can be used in any academy" she explains "They told us at the beginning of this dispute that they had no funds, but they could use that rollover if they wanted. Instead, they have refused and won't use any of their rollover to help out their so-called `family of schools'."
Salford people are, however, joining together to show support for the dispute. As well as those constantly beeping cars passing the picket line, some Year 11 pupils who were invited into the closed school by the head, Patrick Ottley O'Connor, refused to attend yesterday. This comes on top of pupil riots at the school in November in support for their teachers (see here).
Also on the picket line were members of Salford Trades Council and the Salford Against the Cuts campaign…
"Salford Against The Cuts supports any workers involved in action" says the campaign's Paul Gerrard "We think it's important that all trade unionists work together and support each other."
The final strike takes place tomorrow (Thursday) morning between 8am-9am, when members of UNISON will also be joining the teachers on the picket line to show support.
Meanwhile, Oasis seems determined to put money before Salford children's education...although it hasn't stopped the company sending out begging letters for donations to help "forgotten young people" across the UK… "No child should face this kind of insecurity and neglect…" states the letter which is asking for Christmas donations to its own charities to help kids at risk over the holidays (see here).
While we're sure this is a very worthy cause, perhaps the `Christian' Oasis should be looking on its own doorstep to do good deeds this Christmas…
Everyone is welcome to show support to the Oasis teachers by joining the picket line outside Oasis Academy MediaCityUK on Eccles Old Road, Salford tomorrow morning Thursday 15th December 8-9am
For further details and full background on this Salford Star story click here and follow the links at the end of the article