Saturday, 31 March 2007

Teachers Union letter to Oxford Mail opposing Academy status for Peers School

Dear Editor

No parent, student or teacher would oppose the building of a brand new fully staffed and resourced community school. (School of the Future, Peers Academy proposal Thursday 22nd March, 2007) Indeed it is a fundamental birthright of every child to have access to free, high quality education in a good local school which is accountable to the community through locally elected councillors.

Transforming Peers into an academy would not turn it into an ‘effective community school’ as claimed by DfES spokesman Daniel Webb-Jones. Indeed quite the opposite would happen. The local community would in fact loose democratic control of the school. Academy sponsors can and always do appoint the majority of the governors. Parents, staff and Local Authority governors in the academy would be in a permanent minority.

In addition, the present publicly owned buildings and grounds would be transferred to the Diocese of Oxford and the three other named sponsors of the plan, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford and Cherwell Valley College and BMW. For a minimal financial contribution towards the £30 million cost of the new school these four unaccountable ‘sponsors’ would be given control of a modern independent school and receive the entire school budget directly from the Government. One has to ask why, if the Government is prepared to hand out such sums of money, it does not give the money directly to the local authority to build and control a new school.

The national bodies of the teacher unions NUT, NASUWT, ATL, and UNISON, the school support workers’ union, are all opposed to the creation of Academies and are part of the Anti-Academies alliance ( We must defend free public education and ensure that all children can attend a good local school which is democratically accountable to the local community.

Chris Blakey
Vice President Oxfordshire Association National Union of Teachers.
Brenda Williams
Secretary Oxfordshire Association NUT

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Public Meeting on future of Learning Disability Services in Oxfordshire

There will be a public meeting on 27th March at 7.30 in Oxford Town Hall entitled "Should Learning Disability services remain in the NHS - or go to the cheapest bidder". The speaker will be health campaigner and Oxford Respect Chair John Lister.

The meeting has been organised by Oxfordshire Unison Health Branch.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Anti war march in Oxford - Saturday March 17th

There will be a 'Troops Out- No Trident' march in Oxford next Saturday (17th March) to mark the fourth aniversary of the Iraq war.

The march assembles 12.30pm at Manzil Way (Off Cowley Road) and will go to Broad Street where there will be local and national speakers including Iraqi academic Sami Ramadani and Chris Nineham from the National Stop the War Coalition.

Next Oxford Respect branch meeting 20th March

The next Oxford Respect branch meeting will be at 7.30 Tuesday 20th March at the Town Hall. There will be a talk on 'After the tragedy of Iraq: Is Iran next?'.

Come and join the debate..

Sunday, 4 March 2007

500 march in Oxford against health cuts

Over 500 people attanded a demonstration in Oxford last Saturday ( 3rd March). The brightly coloured demonstration included three giant bananas symbolising new Labour's health policy.

Demonstrators carried NHS Together flags and union placards denouncing cuts, redundancy and privatisation. Workers from community hospitals, blood services, dentistry, learning disability, mental health and the Oxford Radcliffe hospital marched alongside council carers, printers, civil servants, car workers, pensioners and healthcare students. People received greetings from colleagues from Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

The rally took many short speeches from those involved local campaigns and there were strong calls for a national protest against the attacks on the NHS.