Oasis academies

(29 Posts)
skewiff Thu 05-Jul-12 19:50:58

Does anyone have any information about Oasis Community Learning.

Do your children go to Oasis academies? Or do you teach in one?

If so what are your feelings about the places.

Thank you (I am an interested parent/onlooker of a local school that is in the process of being set up and will possibly be backed by Oasis).

RokerFace Thu 05-Jul-12 20:11:05

There is an Oasis Academy near where I live (NW). They have been in the papers for cutting teaching staff back to the bone - the teachers having to leave at the end of the year, rather than the end of the school year so pupils studying for their GCSEs lost their teachers halfway through the school year.

They were recently talking to parents at my DS's primary school - asking if we would consider sending their children there in the future. I said no.

cricketballs Thu 05-Jul-12 21:11:45

just to let you know at any LA school teachers can leave at Christmas, Easter and summer so that fact they are an academy is not the reason regarding when teachers leave

cory Fri 06-Jul-12 07:46:42

Two of them near me. They have a very poor reputation locally. The one in our catchment had nearly 30 teachers leave within the first few months of Oasis taking over, organisation (involving two school sites) was chaotic with teachers often not turning up for classes due to lack of coordinated transport. Discipline and teaching are still said to be very poor several years later, children are unhappy and under-achieving.

What put us off was their complete lack of a plan for SN support- they didn't even answer our emails at first, and eventually sent fluffy replies about their Christian ethos, but nothing about how they intended to solve the practical problem of a disabled child accessing the curricuculum.

We went to the first open evening. Representatives of Oasis were standing in the foyer in the school. When we asked if the school had disabled access they didn't know *and it did not occur to any of them to go and find out*; dh and I had to hunt round the school looking for lifts.

The introductory talk was all about how they understand that parents feel uncomfortable about academic subjects and how they will compensate with other types of learning. There was nothing that indicated an understanding that some children enjoy academic studies, or are gifted, or might want to go on to university.

cory Fri 06-Jul-12 07:49:16

cricketballs, RokerFace said teachers have to leave at Christmas due to staff cuts, not that they are allowed to leave at any time as is the case in any school. To me, implementing staff cuts half-way through the year does seem a case of the same bad planning we have observed locally; it's failure to think through the effects of their actions.

Rosebud05 Fri 06-Jul-12 07:50:24

As cricketballs says, staff can leave LA schools at times other than the summer but this They have been in the papers for cutting teaching staff back to the bone is a circumstance particular to academies.

crazymum53 Fri 06-Jul-12 12:00:29

There is an Oasis academy in my area - it is not my catchment school but is my nearest school and I did not choose it for my child (although I know many families that do go there). It converted to an academy in 2008 and the verdict from parents who already had children there is that the school has improved enormously since Oasis took over. GCSE results have improved significantly, attendance has increased, the school has been completely rebuilt and standards of behaviour are much better. However much of this improvement has been down to pupils taking vocational alternatives to GCSE rather than more traditional academic subjects (this was the main reason it was not considered for dd). Contrary to what cory says at this school, children with SEN are catered for and their numbers are significantly above the national average.
There have been staff changes but this is mostly because of low pupils numbers in some year groups, as the school has been under-subscribed for many years.

Rosebud05 Fri 06-Jul-12 12:54:03

The excessive use of 'vocational alternatives' to GCSEs in order to improve performance table position is another characteristic of academies. It effectively puts of ceiling on children's life opportunities before the age of 14, for their own vanity.

crazymum53 Fri 06-Jul-12 15:46:17

The local Oasis school did have considerable problems before Oasis took over and had to cut back staff in order to balance the budget. Most of the original staff who wished to join the new school were retained, although the school did have a new Head.
Obtaining vocational qualifications such as BTEC is better than obtaining no qualifications at all (which was the case for many pupils at this school which was "one of the lowest performing schools in the country" before it was taken over by Oasis) but if your child is likely to academic you may be better choosing a school that offers traditional academic subjects.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 06-Jul-12 18:21:28

Don't get me started on Oasis.
I live near the other of the two schools in Cory's town.
They move into their new purple building in September.
They merged a 700 pupil school with a 600 pupil school.
Have built a building for 900 kids
and have under 700 on roll now - and once the 150 year 11s leave will be around the 500 pupils mark.
Handing out bibles does not make up for avoiding issues.

vj32 Fri 06-Jul-12 18:36:22

Agree with cory and Talkinpeace above. One of the schools made local and I think some national news for having a riot/protest by students and the head was eventually forced to resign (From what I remember...). Other local schools had to deal with the massive number of appeals each year from parents desperate for their kids not to attend the Academy.

I don't think their management is good, but with all Academies, you have to look at the reasons they changed to an Academy. If it was a good school before Oasis took over, they probably haven't made it that much worse.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 06-Jul-12 18:47:09

vj32 - that was cory's one.
And yes, the school my DCs are at has an intake of 300 a year, Oasis has 60. Nuff said.
The two schools that merged to make the purple school were dire - one of them in the bottom 20 nationally
BUT Oasis have done very little to improve things - and being an Academy are not forced to publish their full exam results.

cory Fri 06-Jul-12 19:06:15

Our previous catchment school was not that bad, but the council wanted to merge the two schools to eventually be able to sell the land. And iirc there was talk of one of the councillors having close ties to the Christian group that runs Oasis. May have been gossip, of course.

skewiff Fri 06-Jul-12 22:32:50

Do they actually hand out bibles?

Does the religious aspect of the organisation come into the curriculum?

Are there any backers that people would recommend????

TalkinPeace2 Fri 06-Jul-12 22:42:17

skewiff
the burning bibles made a right mess of the bus stop that day ...

all the "backers" are aiming to extract 20% of turnover for dividends
that is 20% not available for schooling

TalkinPeace2 Sat 07-Jul-12 18:17:36

I went to see the Oasis near Cory today.
Red and white is nearly as ugly as the purple that we have.
Hmmm.

skewiff Sat 07-Jul-12 20:22:35

I agree the whole thing is ridiculous. But are local schools actually being opened up now by local authorities?

In our area the number of children is increasing dramatically. They have had a shortfall of places this year in primary and are having to increase the size of existing schools.

There is no money to open new schools.

This is the same for secondary. So a group of parents here are trying to open a free school/academy. They want it to be a community school and are only going down this route because the council have not money to open a school on their own.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 07-Jul-12 22:52:44

LEAs are BARRED from opening new schools.

skewiff Sat 07-Jul-12 23:01:22

Why? Its not to save money surely.

Oasis says that they are government funded. And once the school is opened the LEA has to put money into the school don't they?

Maybe a bit of money is being saved. But the way things are now government/taxpayers money is being used to fund experiments.

Why are we all not making a stand against this?

TalkinPeace2 Sat 07-Jul-12 23:21:59

Oasis have NOTHING to do with the LEA. they get their money direct from Whitehall.
When he head of the one near Cory resigned, the local MP tried to make the LEA help out and they (correctly) said they had no power or right to get involved.

Toby Young can open a school
Varley can open a school
Businessmen can open a school
but LEAs cannot. they can only expand or contract existing ones.

Skewiff - why are we not taking a stand. simple. The Daily Fail and the Torygraph have brainwashed everybody into thinking all LEAs are as crap as some of the London ones.
Maggie abolished ILEA
Gove wants to abolish all the rest of the LEAs

happyAvocado Sat 07-Jul-12 23:33:42

I did my teaching practice in Oasis Academy nearby.
not sure how it is this year but 18 months ago classes were small, they had v.low number of parents signing their kids fo then y.7 therefore the ywere talking anybody and everybody in
I think they were very well prepared in regards to kids wellbeing and safeguarding them

but pupils were notorious for stealing from shops - in the end by end of April 2 years ago the nearest superstore Tesco banned any child in their uniform from coming in

classes were distruptive, they were only responding to senior staff, younger teachers were unable to control them

on the surface they had great system of tracking kids progress, lovely new school building was going to be built - but brighter kids stood no chance to be given extra work as all effort teachers made was to keep the rest of the class under control, i.e sitting in their seats

I saw some poor teaching from teachers there... in short - no, I would not send my child to school which couldn't control their pupils

if you want to know what they are like - go and see how is the morning like, sitting in your car, most of the time if you see a teacher standing at the bus stop - that means that without his present kids would run a riot
go on the bus those kids come to school - see their behaviour

Rosebud05 Sun 08-Jul-12 22:23:06

I don't think LA/LEAs are actually BARRED from opening new schools.

I think they can only be considered to open new schools if there is no free school or academy that wants to set up.

Given the number of private companies champing at the bit to make as much profit as possible out of education, it's going to be an unlikely circumstance.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 09-Jul-12 13:52:22

www.education.gov.uk/schoolsadjudicator/decisions/b0075884/decisions-made-by-the-schools-adjudicator/changes-to-school-organisation/new-schools

www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/typesofschools

I see no comp LEA schools in the second link ....

Rosebud05 Mon 09-Jul-12 14:36:28

And no right of appeal. Great.

freerangeeggs Mon 09-Jul-12 18:59:26

None of the (very good) teachers I know would set foot in one of these schools. They are gaining a very bad reputation in terms of treatment of staff, leadership etc - much like other academy chains.

The word is getting round the NQTs too. They seem to be an 'oh fuck I still haven't got a job, I suppose I'm going to have to apply to one of those horrible academies' option.

They'll end up with all the dregs and the teaching will be dire.

On a different note, Oasis Academy is a stupid name for a school. It sounds like a nightclub or a hotel in Magaluf. Schools that strive to create a 'brand image' are to be avoided at all costs.

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