PRESS RELEASE – Coventry UNISON condemns the proposals to close Woodlands Academy

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Coventry City Branch of UNISON, that represents most Support staff working at Woodlands Academy in Coventry, today condemned the proposals to close the school.

The decision to effectively close Woodlands Academy without explaining the reasons for doing so with such a short consultation is completely unacceptable.

It’s the first Secondary School Academy in this city to face possible closure causing a potentially devastating impact on our members and their livelihoods. Richard Harty Corporate Representative from UNISON said

“Our entire membership at the school could ultimately lose their jobs. They are devastated by this news, many being long serving, loyal professionals who have given their best in the service of the school and its community”

UNISON are not satisfied that this matter can simply be seen as a lift and shift of pupils from one school to another and cannot simply allow the school to be erased from the map in this way.

“We will be seeking an urgent explanation from the DFE about this matter. We have long stated that the development of Finham Park 2 would have a detrimental impact on the area where there are already surplus places. The DFE have allowed this and they need to explain themselves. After all this is about pupil’s education and the employment contracts of our members, as well as the use of taxpayers money.

We have so many questions to ask. For example, how have we got to the point where an entire school is being closed so suddenly? Why hasn’t there been earlier intervention by the DFE? We understand the school is running a deficit budget – who will pay for staff redundancies?. What happens to staff during the proposed changes?

We are concerned at the potential destabilising effects of these proposals both to the pupils and staff at Woodlands Academy.

These issues reflect the fact that the Academy system x does not work and has not made any real difference to the lives of the pupils and our members compared to the previously local democratic structures that were previously in place. Instead we see a market driven approach where schools have to compete to get pupils, regardless of the impact on the wider community, and see the potentially catastrophic impact on a school with the history and integrity Woodlands has. Unnecessary extra school places are being created using taxpayers money at a time of extreme austerity and cuts in local government of more than 40%.

 

Contact: Richard Harty   024 76521125             Richard.harty@unisoncoventry.co.uk

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