Now Riverside May Close
If we did not already have a ‘Support Our Schools’ campaign we would definitely need one now. Since the last issue of ‘City Teacher’ the city council has announced that Riverside Community College may have to close due to falling rolls. Of course, as usual, they also say that “all options are being considered”. The NUT will be testing this out by submitting our own options following consultation with members at the school.
Meanwhile, following a meeting with staff, all the main teaching and support staff unions were forced to demand that the Local Authority intervene to resolve what was accurately described as ‘an intolerable situation’ at Fullhurst Community College.
Both schools are identified to become Academies under the council’s plans for education. Both schools have been let down by the city council because there has been no proper oversight or strategic thinking about local educational needs. The view has been, why worry about ‘education’ and ‘learning’ when you have privatised Academies round the corner?
Leicester NUT has made clear that we are not prepared to see schools closed and staff redundant because of Local Authority negligence. We have also been firm in our insistence that ALL the staff concerns at Fullhurst must be addressed as a matter of urgency. We have learned a lot from the six years of misery at New College .
For once, we have met a positive response from the LA over Fullhurst. Action to tackle Health and Safety issues was prompt and, following a lack of progress in tackling student behaviour and learning, David Kershaw has been drafted in as Executive headteacher.
The NUT’s National Action Committee approved indicative ballots for strike action at both schools as a precaution. A successful ballot has already taken place at Riverside.
Meanwhile, together with other unions and staff, we are looking at alternative plans for the future of both schools so as to ensure continuing Community School Education in West Leicester. These will be put to the LA and to parents once finalised.
Separately, we are also continuing the campaign against Babington Community College becoming an academy. A joint union meeting is scheduled to take place shortly and speakers from the NUT and Unison will be addressing governors at the school in the near future.
Leicester schools are OUR schools. Let’s keep it that way.