Oasis Community Learning, a christian educational trust currently running 14 academies in England, is typical of the theological style of industrial relations promoted by the cheerleaders of the Academy sector. Back in November, in the middle of the school year, 13 teachers at its Media City (Salford) Academy were sacked, sparking 5 days of strikes as well as a walk out by year 10 and 11 pupils in the run up to christmas. Ultimately, the campaign to defend the teachers did not win.
Thinly disguised as a cost-cutting exercise, local opinion strongly suspects the sackings were more of an exercise in weeding out those teachers who hadn’t signed an agreement to teach christian beliefs. This is backed up by the fact that the one maths teacher sacked, and the only one to be graded outstanding last year, was a practicing muslim. Further evidence for this came in January, when the academy advertised a number of teaching posts, including one in maths.
So much for cost-cutting then, especially when precious funds are now been diverted into PR for the new £25 million Oasis Academy MediaCityUK building, due to open in September.