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SALFORD EDUCATION BREAKS UP WITH ACADEMIES AND MEDIACITYUK UTC
 

Star date: 29th May 2012

SALFORD COUNCIL DISMANTLES CITY'S EDUCATION AS THE UNIVERSITY, CAPITA AND THE LOWRY GET ON BOARD

Public Meetings Against Academies
Dukesgate Primary: Wednesday June 13th 6pm Cleggs Lane Methodist Church, Little Hulton
The Albion High: Wednesday 20th June 6pm St Sebastian's, Charlestown

Salford Council and Hazel Blears' commitment to state education has now officially gone out of the school window with their backing for academies all over the city and support for the new private MediaCityUK University Technical College to be announced today.

But opposition is growing with two public meetings planned by Salford City UNISON against academies…

Full details here…


Albion High School Salford
click image to enlarge

Today the Government will announce that a bid for a new MediaCityUK University Technical College has been successful. University Technical Colleges are academies for 14-19 year olds, brought in by the ConDem Government and filtered through the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, led by Margaret Thatcher's former Minister of Education, Kenneth Baker, now Baron Baker of Dorking.

University Technical Colleges have the same status as academies – outside of local council control, setting their own curriculum, length of school day and conditions for teachers and staff. They take kids as young as 14 to `specialise' in whatever it is they specialise in. The concept has been criticised by teaching union NASUWT and others as segregating kids at a ridiculously early age into `academic' and `vocational' paths.

The Salford version, MediaCityUK University Technical College, will specialise in `creative industries' and is a horrid partnership between The Lowry, the University of Salford, Salford City Council and the Aldridge Foundation – set up by Lowry chairman Rod Aldridge, founder of Capita (or as Private Eye calls it `Crapita') which specialises itself in getting private contracts to run public services and is the force behind Urban Vision in Salford.

MediaCityUK University Technical College will be based in the University of Salford's campus at Media City, and, no doubt will help pay its huge rental costs of over £2million a year (see here).

The main public cheerleader for the new Tech is Salford MP Hazel Blears, who stood up in Parliament in February, sucking up to Tory Education Minister Michael Gove, asking him to be "aware of the joint bid for a university technical college at MediaCityUK that is backed by the Lowry arts centre, the Aldridge Foundation, the city council and the university - by everybody in the city".

`Everybody in the city'? No-one even knew about it!

Salford people may well be alarmed by the Labour Party's lurch into the privatisation of Salford's education. Salford Council, controlled by the Labour Party, is backing the new Tech college, and is also a partner in the formerly secretive Salford Academy Trustset up by Salford City College, Salford University and Salford City Council - which aims to turn the city's schools into academies.

The Salford Academy Trust was actually advertising for new principals for Dukesgate Primary School and The Albion High, before consulting or informing parents (see here and see here for Salford Star exclusives).

Now concerned staff and parents at the schools are holding public meetings against the proposals. Yesterday public sector trade union Salford City UNISON put out a press release condemning the academy plans, stating `Staff representatives are disappointed that the Council is taking these steps', and questioning Council claims that the new model is `better than the Government's model of Big Business Academies'

"The local Academy model may not seem as dangerous as the one the Government is proposing, but it will still take schools out of the control of elected Councillors" said Diane Ogg, Assistant Branch Secretary for Salford City UNISON "These Councillors might not be perfect but at least they're elected and can be put under pressure if they do things the people don't like. Under the new model decisions about education will be made by unelected individuals who we won't be able to challenge and we believe that's not good for education."

Parents and staff of pupils at Dukesgate Primary and The Albion High are being urged to attend the public meetings to find out what the future holds for their children's education…

Public Meetings Against Academies

Dukesgate Primary: Wednesday June 13th 6pm Cleggs Lane Methodist Church, Little Hulton, M38 9RW.

The Albion High: Wednesday 20th June 6pm St Sebastian's Community Centre, 1 Douglas Green, Salford, M6 6ES, Charlestown.

Both meetings are backed by the Anti-Academies Alliance www.antiacademies.org.uk

Matthew wrote
at 11:08:58 on 18 June 2012
I've met Steve Chalke twice, and he is as far from being a maniacal, Bible thumping God-botherer as it is possible to get. Oasis aren't interested in brainwashing anybody - their priorities are education and community regeneration. If that leads to people taking more interest in following Christ, all well and good. I agree with you that money grabbing capitalism has no place in the provision of education, but I see nothing wrong with charitable organisations such as Oasis running schools where the local authority has been seen to be doing a piss-poor job. Better that than closing the school down.
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 05:43:53 on 18 June 2012
I see Matthew is back with his spin in favour of Oasis. Read the post man, it is about accountability. Neither model is perfect, the point is that one leaves these establishment accountable to the voter, the other does not. a maniacal, bible thumping God botherer trying to brainwash our children is as insidious as any money grabbing capitalist looking to make a few quid out of something as vital as children's education. The private sector has it's place, but not in such important spheres as education. I have a novel idea, why not actually ask the people what they want. The problem is that the vested interests of business would come before the wishes & needs of the people. As for the lottery, sorry mate I don't bother with it, greed isn't my thing.
 
Matthew wrote
at 07:30:56 on 17 June 2012
And I suppose you believe that no school in public hands has ever failed? Better to put an unsuccessful school in private (but NOT, I repeat NOT, profit-making) hands than to leave it to fail in public hands. Whether you want to believe it or not, some academies have been a vast improvement on the schools they replaced. A good example is Ducie High School in Moss Side, which was a basket-case before it converted to academy status. The Manchester Academy, which replaced Ducie High, repeatedly achieves outstanding exam results and is heavily oversubscribed. The private sector is not the demon you make it out to be. In any case, why would you want the clowncil at the Joke Factory to have responsibility for running Salford's schools? Oh, and seeing as your doom-laden predictions for the Oasis Academy seem to show that you know so much about the future, you wouldn't mind giving me next Friday's EuroMillions numbers, would you? Thanks.
 
H.H. wrote
at 07:29:32 on 17 June 2012
Well said Nacht . We've all been conned , ripped-off and shafted . The leeching parasites rely on voter apathy . Works every time , and the looting just continues.
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 19:39:19 on 16 June 2012
I'll give you one reason not to support these ventures. They are beyond the control of the people they purport to serve. Only when all public services & utilities are back in public hands can any progress be made. It is not a matter of being negative, merely realistic. Everything that privatisation has touched has been an unmitigated disaster for the consumer.
 
Matthew wrote
at 22:14:59 on 15 June 2012
That's a negative attitude, if ever I saw one. The new building can only be a good thing, both for the school and the local community, attracting parents who may not have considered the old Hope High site and providing modern leisure and educational facilities for local residents. It saddens me that some people seem to actively desire that the academy fails, which would benefit nobody, least of all the young people who attend the school. I don't see how school failure can be a good thing for the Salford community. The move is going to happen, so I see no reason not to support the Oasis Academy as it attempts to contribute to the regeneration of a neglected part of Salford. Let's be positive, not negative, about this.
 
wrote
at 14:31:49 on 15 June 2012
What a total waste of money to have two media academies on Salford Quays! Oasis ought to withdraw as sponsors and allow the UTC to open in its new building. Of course, this will never happen. Instead we face years of the Oasis academy failing to recruit sufficient numbers, further redundancies and then finally closure. Sort it out, Steve Chalke!
 
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 20:57:02 on 08 June 2012
Hello Matthew, and welcome back! One Humbly suggests you look at the closing remarks in what I previously wrote regarding this. I wasn't having a go at the school, just laughing at the situation the academy finds itself in, given the attitude of some towards RC Schools/High Schools under their authority. The Intentions of our Local Leaders have been quite foggy in the last few months. Perhaps a change of leadership and new man in charge of Education will clear the fog! (I wont hold my breath...)
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 20:42:49 on 08 June 2012
Competition? I thought it was about education.
 
Matthew wrote
at 14:59:41 on 01 June 2012
Brian - I think you have got youself confused. The new school currently going up on the Salford Central Church site isn't going to be a UTC. The new UTC will be a completely different school, with a different set of sponsors altogether (the Aldridge Foundation, the University of Salford, Salford College & The Lowry), on a different site closer to MediaCity. This, quite ridiculously in my view, means that we will now have two media specialist schools within walking distance of one another. Does nobody think things through when these decisions are made? Of course, it's all about COMPETITION, isn't it? What a joke.
 
Brownie wrote
at 20:13:26 on 30 May 2012
Well , they are too busy counting their loot to comment .
 
IRLAM BOY wrote
at 18:55:04 on 30 May 2012
SCC are recomending all schools apply for accademy statues asap, Irlam and Cadishead College along with many others are already starting the process. the silence from Salford council is deafening.
 
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 11:03:24 on 30 May 2012
Just had another thought on this,isn't the quote by our MP that (and i quote this from your article)"aware of the joint bid for a university technical college at MediaCityUK that is backed by the Lowry arts centre, the Aldridge Foundation, the city council and the university - by everybody in the city" ever so slightly bending the truth? Mr Gove may be happy with Ms Blears Conversion but it's stretching the truth to its breaking point, as for one - i don't think i was asked for an opinion - or was anyone else for that matter - so much for consultation!
 
UoS wrote
at 05:27:45 on 30 May 2012
So let me get this straight - children are going to be taken out of conventional education at 14 (i.e. before they've even begun GCSEs) and tied into this UTC for five years, in the forlorn hope that they will emerge as specialists in "creative industries" or, put another way, fodder for the University's various Media degrees? Putting aside the fact that hardly anybody I know who works in the "creative industries" has this sort of background, how do the children benefit? The University's angle is obvious - offsetting the massive lease costs for the premises. I wonder whether they sought the opinion of students on this? I cannot imagine many 18 year old undergraduates being pleased at sharing learning spaces with 14 year olds - that, certainly, will not be what they have paid for! This sounds like a disaster for everybody involved.
 
Alice Searle wrote
at 05:27:37 on 30 May 2012
I am horrified about the plans for education in Salford. Years ago I taught in a Junior Technical College.[just like the proposed University Technical College]. It too was for 14 to 18 year olds and the emphasis was narrowly focussed on vocational training. This system was thrown-out when it was realised that such early specialisation limited the possibilities for the young people, who, at this age,are unaware of what careers are available or what they would like to do for the rest of their lives. It is a retrograde step.It makes me think of Pink Floyds 'Just another brick in the Wall!' Hope you remember that?! As for 'giving away' our education system, which has been built up and improved since 1872, to a motley group of self-serving business or religious fanatics, well I despair. The Council is allowing its power to supervise and influence education in Salford to pass into the hands of none elected agents with ulterior motives. I hope parents and teachers fill the meetings and show their anger. WE never agreed to this
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 20:28:23 on 29 May 2012
Come on if you mentioned democracy to Blears she would ask if she can claim expenses for it.
 
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 20:27:24 on 29 May 2012
Hmmm...First its a Media College, then its an Academy then its a UTC (Whatever that is). Does Anybody have a clue as to what's being built on the site of the Old United Reformed Church? I Know its a High School (Of Sorts) but on one hand it takes in pupils from Hope High (Supposedly Non-Faith) and the school has a faith-centred Ethos...I smile at the apparent irony of the Situation - given the policies of the current exec towards RC schools (Who will also be going down this path I believe) Time for those in the know to announce their intentions clearly to the people they supposedly serve.
 
Edukater wrote
at 14:42:19 on 29 May 2012
Perhaps some kind person could have a word with the Grinning Rat and Mayor Greedy , and explain what 'Democracy ' is and how it should work . They clearly don't understand , don't care , or would rather ignore it as they obsequiously brown-nose rich business chums . The stench of Crapita over this is a bad thing , and this Deadcity deserves better . The real obscenity is that these ignorant , self-serving cretins arrogantly assume the right to speak for the inmates of this Deadcity . THEY DO NOT , AND NEVER WILL .
 
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