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SALFORD COUNCIL BRANDED A DISGRACE AND A JOKE OVER ACADEMIES BETRAYAL
 

Star date: 20th June 2012

SALFORD COUNCIL BETRAYED STAFF AND MOST VULNERABLE PUPILS ON SCHOOLS PRIVATISATION SAY PARENTS AND UNIONS

`Salford Council is falling over like a row of dominoes, trying to get rid of its schools'

Salford Council was branded `a joke' and `a disgrace' tonight as parents and staff met to discuss the Council's determination to push Albion High School and Marlborough Primary School down the path to academy status via Salford Academy Trust.

Speakers at the meeting called for a public debate on the biggest change to Salford education for more than a generation, slating the Council's secrecy, its `jobs for the boys' approach, the speed of privatisation and its possible effects on some of the city's most vulnerable pupils.

Full story here…


SALFORD ANTI ACADAMIES MEETING SALFORD ANTI ACADAMIES MEETING SALFORD ANTI ACADAMIES MEETING
click image to enlarge

No-one was lost for words tonight as parents, staff and trade union reps branded Salford Council `a joke' and `a disgrace' for its `betrayal' of Salford children, as it rushes to privatise its schools.

Marlborough Road Primary School and Albion High School in East Salford are in line to become academies in September, along with Dukesgate Primary in Little Hulton (see here), under the umbrella of Salford Academy Trustrun by Salford City College with Salford University and Salford City Council minor partners.

But the speed of the change, the lack of proper debate, the secrecy, the haste, the effect on vulnerable pupils, the reduction of money to help other Salford schools and the `jobs for the boys' approach was slammed by speakers and parents.

The former Head of Albion High, Steve Aveyard, came in for fierce criticism after he announced that he was leaving the school to become Chief Executive of the new Salford Academy Trust for a salary of over £100,000.

"People need to ask whether this post was ever advertised, who appointed him and who set his wage" said Keith Bradley representing the Anti Academies Alliance.

An Albion parent branded Aveyard's appointment "an absolute joke"…

"They're saying they want to make Albion an academy because it's failing, which it isn't; but if it is failing then whose fault is that?" she asked "Surely the Head is responsible for its failing and now he's the Chief Exec of Salford Academy Trust!"

Lesley Auger, from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said it was about "creating a layer of jobs for the boys" as extra money would have to be found from school budgets, not only for Aveyard's Chief Exec salary but also for a new principal of Albion, with a package `up to £100,000'… "money that should be spent on the children of Salford. Having done a lot of work through the hard times at Albion, supporting the school, I feel betrayed."

Other speakers told how the move to academies will drain money from Salford's education budget, with Salford Academy Trust (led by Salford College) possibly procuring its own services and forcing redundancies in the Council's central support services which would affect other schools and vulnerable pupils in the city.

Future admissions and exclusions policy, and support for SEN pupils are all questions that the unions say haven't been answered. Meanwhile, some of the lowest paid support staff are concerned that new `flexible working' will see them "moved around like chess pieces" within the Trust – from, say Marlborough Road in Broughton to Dukesgate in Little Hulton, not merely adding hours and expense to their working day but breaking consistency with the vulnerable pupils they work with.

The big question on everyone's lips was why the rapid move to academy status is happening…

"Why is Salford Council falling over like a row of dominoes trying to get rid of its schools?" asked Judith Elderkin of the NUT "Why has this been done on the QT and almost signed, sealed and delivered by the time the consultation started?"

"Why the secrecy?" asked Lesley Auger of the NUT "Why didn't Salford councillors and Cabinet members know about this?"

"Parents should be asking `Why are you forcing my school to be private? Why is Salford doing this? Where is the accountability? Where is the community say in these matters? Why can't I have a vote?'" explained Keith Bradley of the Anti-Academies Alliance, adding that the behind closed doors decision making was "disgraceful"...

Parents also slated the so-called official `consultation' on the future of Albion High School which ends this Friday, June 22nd (click here to fill it in online) but people at the meeting joined Dukesgate staff and parents in voting overwhelmingly for a call for a public meeting and a public vote on all the schools' future, and the launch of a petition.

Salford City UNISON's Ameen Hadi branded John Merry's recent statement that there is no alternative to the move to academy status as "a tactic…when people act the Council is forced to respond."

He gave the example of the successful campaign against Day Centre closures and urged Salford people to oppose the rush for academies… "We have a responsibility to make sure that we don't let go of our public services" he said.

"Somebody's benefitting from academies, and it's not the kids" concluded Keith Bradley "It's a small group of people, usually those at the top…"

 

Update and interview with John Merry, Assistant Mayor for Young People - click here

For full details of the Salford Council's academy attacks, secrecy and schools privatisation see previous Salford Star articles…

The Wholesale Privatisation of Salford Schools – click here

Albion To Become An Academy – click here

The Break Up Of Salford Education – click here

Salford Council Challenged On Academies – click here

For further details on the Anti Academies Alliance see www.antiacademies.org.uk

Main photo: Keith Bradley of Anti Academies Alliance

Photos by Steven Speed

Amanda Bickerton wrote
at 14:20:03 on 22 June 2012
Not too many years ago the head of Albion High School explained the execrable GCSE results with the excuse that 'the young people who come to us are not equipped to succeed'. I think he would have been more correct in stating that the management and staff of the school were not equipped to succeed as they were manifestly failing to effectively teach the students there. There will no doubt be howls of protest at that - but that remark was about the young people of Salford, and the head of a school writing off his students. So how is a academy status going to change things? Well, you can exclude whoever you like if you are an academy. You can choose who you let in if you are an academy. So your results improve by cherry picking the intake and booting out those with special educational needs and those you plain don't like. You get praised for turning around a school. Perhaps you get called a 'super-head'. Fight the academy idea for the right reasons. Fight for a school which is for local young people, which believes that Salford's young people have massess of ability, potential and energy, and give ALL the young people in this city, whether they are from Worsley or Broughton, the best education possible. To do that, you need schools staffed by capable and passionate staff who do not believe that living in a low income household makes you an unteachable chav.
 
Wolfie Smythe wrote
at 14:19:13 on 22 June 2012
Salford council are the lapdogs of big business . As soon as a bone is thrown , the inept wasters scurry after it , then roll over . They are pathetic , even more pathetic than the foolish electorate who voted the traitors back into office . Where's Mayor 'openness' Stewart in all this mess ? Too busy sniffing round the Money Tree with Spicer ?
 
Mark Armstrong wrote
at 03:02:28 on 22 June 2012
The majority of NUT, UNITE, UNISON members vote blindly for this bunch of inept idiots and then when they act in this way you cry like scolded children. Dont vote them into power in the first place and then this would not have become an issue. Labour in Salford would sell their grannies grave if they thought it would release them of any responsibility. Where is this fool stewart in all of this or is he just another castrated lapdog like most of the labour councillors. Absolutley pathetic all of them.
 
mary ferrer wrote
at 14:28:34 on 21 June 2012
For years our Labour run council have been letting our children down. first it was the safeguardin of our most vunerable children, then it was the building schools for the future programme. Three and a half years ago when I was a councillor I asked officers at a meeting why there was a shortfall of places within the new junior schools that had been built,we had parents that lived in Swinton being offered places in pendleton.I asked had they not looked at the birth rate for the children coming up and the input of families from other parts of the world coming to Salford,I was told that they had JUST started looking at the birth rate.That was a bit bloody late when the schools had been built and some of the old schools were being pulled down. This will be all to do with MONEY and what a mess the council have got into. I would love to see all the accounts relating to grants and goverment funding they have received over the last 5/6 years to move forward with the new build. We need to see where all this money has gone. But its now too late and our children and our childrens children will suffer because of this incompetent Labour run Council. They would sell their grandmother if need be. I can't remember seeing this on any of the glossy leaflets that came through the door during the elections. They forgot to say they were letting our children down AGAIN.
 
Paul Gerrard wrote
at 11:49:55 on 21 June 2012
Labour's contortions over academies defy belief. They introduced academies under Blair and in doing so they have opened a Pandora's box, with hundreds of schools going independent and virtually privatised. Instead of admitting their error and fighting to keep remaining schools in local, democratic control they have decided that 'if you can't beat them, join them'. Nothing about this scheme is transparent or makes sense. Why would a college and a university want to run primary schools, where's the expertise and experience? Will parents' rights to choose these schools be safeguarded? Where are the guarantees for staff? Parents and staff need to demand a public meeting where the proposers of this hare-brained scheme have to defend it.
 
Ex Labour Voter wrote
at 10:02:14 on 21 June 2012
To refer to Salford Council as a 'joke' , is the perfect description . Where's the Court Jester in all this , Mayor 'Open ' Stewart ? Busy telling Spicer how 'highly regarded' she is ? Or busy making a new word up ? The betrayal of Salford just goes on .
 
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