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Thomas Bennett Teachers vote to strike

99% of the voters elected for strike action.

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Thomas Bennett teachers vote overwhelmingly for strike action over funding cuts and job losses

Teachers working at Thomas Bennett Community College in Tilgate, Crawley have voted to take strike action. Members of the National Education Union (NEU), voted by 99% in favour of the action, with a turnout of 89%. The school, operated by The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT) has threatened to make teachers redundant and make drastic funding cuts to areas such as support for children with special educational needs (SEN).

Regional Secretary, Paul McLaughlin said:

“This overwhelming result shows the enormous strength of feeling that members have over this devastating issue. We’re calling on the employer to come to the table with serious plans to save this school, otherwise we will be forced to take significant action.”

This follows a recent public meeting where 150 members of the school community including parents, pupils and staff came together with local councillors to oppose these plans by the academy trust.

The union has confirmed that any action will be non-disruptive of exams.

Local Representative and English Teacher in the school, Alex Ramiz said:

“Through this ballot result our members are sending a clear message to The Kemnal Academies Trust that they do not accept their outrageous proposals for running our school into the ground. They will take strike action unless TKAT come up with a more workable solution.”

NEU Regional Officer, Glenn Kelly added:

“TKAT have choices. They have £7 million of reserves they can use to save this school; the Chief Executive is paid £165,000 a year and they can renegotiate the terms of their PFI contract which costs £1 million per year. So far, they have been unwilling to consider these alternatives, and prefer to make our members redundant instead. These decisions would leave vulnerable children in the school without adequate levels of support.”

Angela Newman of the Crawley Community Action Group, a parent led body formed to help fight the cuts to the school, stated;

“I am one of the many parents who are concerned about Thomas Bennett and are determined to save the school. I want to speak up to say that we fully support the teachers who have balloted for action. It’s a shame that it has to get to this but, like us parents they are motivated only to save our school and to be able to provide the children with the education they deserve.”

Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council said:

“As the teachers said at the meeting last week, if you want to prevent the cuts to the school we need to be ready to stand together to defend our children’s education.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“It’s perfectly understandable and right that teachers at Thomas Bennett should highlight concerns about the future of the community college and I call on the academy trust who runs the school to respond fully to these worries so that pupils and parents can be assured for the future”

Education

“WOW!” audience reaction as Crawley School takes over The Capitol Horsham

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It’s school production season as Crawley’s Holy Trinity School take over the Capitol in Horsham (YES THEY ACTUALLY HAVE TAKEN OVER THE THEATRE!) with their production of The Wizard of Oz.

So we thought what better way to get a review than by sending the perfect audience, mother and son Tina and Reece, to go check it out and wow did they have fun!


From Reece’s and I’s arrival at the theatre the atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation and when we finally took our seats the excitement in the audience was immense. 

Suddenly the curtain rises and from the moment the first words of the young actress playing Dorothy were spoken she had captured our imagination and we were off on a journey. 

All the actors had so much energy, passion and belief in their characters and roles, which truly resonated throughout the auditorium and the audience.

At the interval Reece and I were lucky enough to meet some of the lead actors backstage and have a chat with them with Reece leading the questions:

Some of the cast who chatted to Reece and Tina

REECE: Was it hard acting it all Out?

DOROTHY: “It was hard at first when we started but as time went on and we learnt our places and lines it got easier, but we have so much fun”

REECE: How did you find putting on your costumes and make up?

COWARDLY LION: “Its a rush to put it on, my costume is double layered so extremely hard to get on. I also helped with some of the others make up as sometimes its easier when we do each others.”

REECE: How easy was it to learn your characters?

WHOLE CAST: “We had a brilliant teacher, Miss O’neil who did a really good job of casting the right people for the right parts and we were all a bit unsure at the time. But we gave it a try and we all really settled into and really fell in love with them.”

REECE: Were you scared or nervous about performing in front of lots of people you didnt know?

SCARECROW: “We were at first, but we’ve all got each others backs so if anything did go wrong we would cover for them and hopefully no-one would notice.”

TIN MAN: “It is nerve racking at the time but you believe in your character and the others you’re on stage with and weve spent so much time together we’ve become a family so we’ve all helped each other”

Reece and I also had the pleasure of meeting some “munchkins” who had come from another school and were very keen to be involved saying they’d also learnt a lot by doing workshops with the year 6’s and and since their rehearsals started early October every Monday-Tuesday and Wednesday they’d bonded as friends and loved every minute of their performance(s).

The second half of the show was just as great as the first and you really felt immersed in the story at every stage.

9-year-old Reece absolutely loved the show

Reece and I absolutely loved the show, in-fact wow, it was fantastic. It was put together with such professionalism and it was such a pleasure to experience a production by children and young adults bonding to create not just an evening of entertainment but a journey of friendship and long may they continue to do so. We are already looking forward to any future production they do.

Well done to everybody involved and thank you for having us .’


The show at The Captiol Theatre runs until this Sat 29th with shows at 7:30 each evening and a matinee at 2:30 on Saturday.

Tickets are available on the Capitol Theatre Website by clicking here and are £15 for adults or £10 for U16, students and OAP.

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