Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/449/5370
Bury campaign SOCs it to the council
THE SAVE Our Schools (SOS) campaign in Bury, Greater Manchester, has scored a significant victory over the council in the fight to save Broad Oak School and Prestwich Arts College.
Paul Gerrard Bury SOS campaign (personal capacity)
Following a successful 150-strong demo on 8 July, the Schools Organisation Committee (SOC) met on 13 July and voted down the closure of Broad Oak High School!
Broad Oak High School, which was earmarked for closure along with Prestwich Arts College, serves a very deprived area of East Bury. It is a sports college with floodlit pitches etc and is open into the evenings for the community. All this will be lost if the school closes. Also many vulnerable children will have a long journey to the new school. Their case was strengthened by an excellent recent Oftsed inspection.
The SOC was to discuss the case of the two schools separately. The SOC structure is a kind of electoral college with various groups each having a vote - council, school governors etc.
At the meeting the Learning & Skills Council rep knew which side his bread was buttered on and voted with the council. No-one else did! Roman Catholic, Church of England and state school governors all voted unanimously against closure. The council delegation should have been three Labour, three Tory and one Lib-Dem - a more accurate reflection of the new composition after the elections.
But they ruled out the Lib-Dems on the grounds that they'd all submitted evidence against the closure and were therefore biased! As if the council weren't! Anyway it didn't help much because they tied 3:3 so it goes down as an abstention!
Result: one vote in favour, three against and one abstention. This one will definitely be referred to the Adjudicator so the battle goes on. At the time of writing, the case for Prestwich Arts College has yet to go to the SOC. We hope that having SOC'd it to the council once, they'll do it again!
In The Socialist 20 July 2006:
War and occupation
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Scottish Socialist Party
Campaign for a New Workers Party