18th July 2022
On 13th July 2022, the leader of Oldham Council: Cllr Amanda Chadderton, responded to a question raised during the “Questions to Leader and Cabinet” item of the full council meeting. Part of the question put forward asked what the council was doing to address the significant and sustained building issues faced by students at Newman for well over 10 years.
In Cllr Chadderton’s response, it is view of the Governing body that a number of factual errors were stated. Governors would like to clarify these points with parents so as to not to lead to further confusion. In her response, Cllr Chadderton states that Newman College is an “academy school”. This is incorrect. Newman is not an academy, nor have we at any point been an academy. We are currently exploring the benefits of academisation, but at this stage we remain a voluntary aided school. As such, this response has deflected the duty and responsibility of the council to manage the building issues we face. Regardless of the status of the college, the children we serve are children of Oldham and all parties have a duty to do their utmost to support them.
In reference to the PFI status of the building, Cllr Chadderton goes on to state that the council is, “…not the lead contractor in that we have been working to school trying to hold them to account to get the work done.” Again, this is inaccurate and unhelpful. As a PFI school, the college is represented in all matters regarding the building and its contract by the council. The college is legally not part of the contractual negotiations and has no influence over this, unless applied by the council acting on behalf of the college. Therefore, the headteacher, Governors and all at the college cannot be ‘held to account’ for failings across the building as this is contractually the role of the council.
Finally, Cllr Chadderton also calls into question the "feasibility of the school long term". This is not a view shared by the Governing Body or the headteacher.
The headteacher wrote to the council leader on the evening of the 13th July to ask that she retracts the inaccurate comments relating to the legal position of the college and the suggestion we are an academy; clarifies that the college is in no way responsible for the contractual failings of the building and confirm that this duty rests with the council. We await a response.
Mr J Cassin
Chair of Governors