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GMB Candlelight Protest In Windsor

Monday, December 8, 2014

Candlelit Vigil At Council Meeting Tuesday 9th 7.30pm At Windsor Guildhall In Support Of School Support Staff At Bisham Primary School

Parents have no faith in the current temporary leadership or their ability to resolve any of these issues due to their lack of experience and their poor communication with parents says GMB.

GMB, the union for school support staff, will be attending a candlelight vigil on Tuesday 8th December from 7.30pm in support of its members employed at Bisham Primary School in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. See recent GMB press release on issues at the school.

Last month the school was judged as inadequate and requiring special measures by Ofsted. The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) is now using its power of intervention to oversee school improvement.

Frank Minal, GMB Regional Organiser, said “The vigil is to protest about the treatment of Bisham School by the Head of Children’s Services at RBWM, Alison Alexander, and her team and to ensure the Local Authority take action on a recently submitted petition by the Bisham Parents Action Group (signed by over 1,250 people) requesting an investigation into potential misconduct by Alison Alexander in her dealings with Bisham School.

https://www.change.org/p/the-rt-hon-theresa-may-mp-investigate-concerns-about-misconduct-on-the-parts-of-ms-alison-alexander-in-all-of-her-dealings-with-and-involvement-in-bisham-primary-school-bisham-berkshire

It is necessary that the union is at the centre of community issues that have a negative impact on our members. The situation at Bisham School is untenable and someone should be bought to account regarding the current misgivings of staff and parents alike. Enough is enough. I am asking that trade union members to attend this vigil in support of the community.

The petition was created following Alison Alexander and members of her team walking into the school at 3.15 on Friday 21st November, ousting the head of 29 years, Mr Jim Cooke, without warning or genuine grounds, causing great upset and humiliation to long standing staff.

The whole community strongly believe that Alison Alexander and her officers have acted inappropriately in suspending the Head and taking over the delegated powers from the Governing Body.

But what has spurred so many parents and supporters to now protest, is that despite Alison Alexander making public assurances to parents that she had no agenda with regards to Bisham, that she would work alongside the Head Teacher and allow the parents full consultation prior to any changes occurring, she has taken over the school without any discussion with the Head Teacher or mandate from the parents – and has caused wide-spread chaos and turmoil at the school as a result. Parents are also now seriously worried about safety at the school and concerned about the well-being of their children.

The interim leadership are unable to provide any leadership or guidance to existing and temporary staff or any reassurance to very angry and upset parents on what the short and medium term strategy is for the school.

The longstanding buddy system where older children look after the younger children is being phased out, The Christmas Carol Concert has been cancelled, the Christmas Late Night Shopping Event has been cancelled, and The Carol Concert and Tea Party for the local Old Folks has been cancelled.  Many parents now fear that the planned Nativity Play will not go ahead. 

And parents were told last week by the Interim heads that they are looking into stopping parents coming into the school completely.  They say it is on grounds of safety but we believe that it is to stop parents witnessing the chaos in the school on a daily basis.

Parents have no faith in the current temporary leadership or their ability to resolve any of these issues due to their lack of experience and their poor communication with parents to date – many parents are complaining on a daily basis but nothing changes or gets any better.

We hope that due to the large number of official complaints to the Interim Heads, to local MP’s Theresa May & Dominic Grieve, to Ofsted and to the RBWM themselves – that this situation can be resolved as quickly as possible and that there will be no further hostile interventions by RBMW so that we can start to move positively into 2015 with the school quickly returned to the lovely, caring and successful place of learning that it was before the 21st November.”

Ends

Contact: Frank Minal 07713 079 930 Email: frank.minal@gmb.org.uk or Avril Chambers 07974 251766 or GMB press office 07974 251 823

Notes to editors

GMB PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR MEMBERS AT BERKSHIRE CE PRIMARY SCHOOL THAT HAS BEEN PLACED IN SPECIAL MEASURES AFTER OFSTED REPORT

The council seems to have descended on the school without a clearly defined plan to support teachers, support staff and children at Bisham says GMB

GMB, the union for school support staff, has pledged support for members in Bisham CE Primary School in Windsor and Maidenhead that has been judged as inadequate and requiring special measures by Ofsted.

Ofsted’s report criticises the school for 'weak' teaching, with 'too many' pupils not making enough progress, while teachers’ marking and feedback does not allegedly help the children improve.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is now using its power of intervention to oversee school improvement.

Frank Minal, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB is challenging how the council has dealt with matters following the placing the school into special measures. GMB calls on all parties to work to work together calmly to drive forward standards of education.

The council seems to have descended on the school without a clearly defined plan to support teachers, support staff and children at Bisham.

Alison Alexander the Director of Children's Services has described staff and teaching as inadequate. The Head Teacher is currently suspended pending an investigation and the locks of the school have been changed. 

It would seem that the Council are shooting from the hip regarding their commentary about devoted and committed staff. These off the cuff comments have sparked anger from parents and staff alike.

Public criticism of staff before the council has had a chance to calmly assess the shortcomings the school is not right. It makes matters worse and is giving rise to growing anger.  There is also a need to assess the claimed 56 inaccuracies in the Ofsted report.

The way the council is dealing with this suggests that there is no clear strategy on how to proceed before suspending the Head Teacher or determining how this small primary school operates at a local level.

An interim Head is now on site alongside local authority officers. GMB call on them to work with school support staff, teachers, governors and parents to drive forward standards of education. GMB will support our members through these difficult times in the school”.

ENDS                                                                 

 

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