Angry Students Start Online Petition Calling For a Motion of No Confidence Against the Vice Chancellor Following Announcement of 200 Job Losses at University of Bradford

    By Grahame Anderson

    Senior Management at the University of Bradford are undertaking informal face to face discussions following the announcement 200 full time staff are to be made redundant by December.

    These devastating job cuts will affect administrative, professional and support staff, and will also include senior executives, with management blaming both a change in funding from Westminster and dwindling undergraduate applications.

    The University claims there are no academics involved contrary to what internal sources believe, but the plan represents losing 10 per cent of employees at the university, at a time when student numbers have dropped below 10,000. A total of 35 departures have already been agreed leaving a further 165 losses to come over the next few months.

    A spokesperson for the university told Asian Sunday: “These sessions are open to all staff members with Q&A’s forming part of the agenda. There will also be a formal consultation process in which feedback from staff will help shape the proposed changes to the University.”

    Vice Chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor

    Internal Concerns

    Asian Sunday has learned the proposals released to staff in an email were the catalyst for a collective letter to Top-Tier Management, written by the University's Sabbatical Team. They believe both panic management and a changing strategy were behind the decision.

    In an extract they say: “The University recruitment strategy constantly changes. Recently in Senate we were told that the focus will be on increasing our international student market, yet we still continue to ignore the local market which has been the backbone for the University of Bradford for the last ten years. The new sabbatical team would be unable to attend this University under the current tariff requirement if they were applying today. We do not understand how the University ignore this market in the pursuit of quality, when we would urge increasing quality in the management decision-making and strategic thinking.

    “The Students’ Union wants to be the University’s critical friend and partner, but we are finding this position difficult when we find out about major change through the media. We feel there is not enough consideration given to the student impact from such major decisions which have been made through programmes such as BEP.”

    Other concerns include an upsurge in the number of students reporting basic administrative errors, a retention problem, lack of student surveys and a change in the approach of university governance sessions.

    In a collective statement the group told us: “The letter speaks for itself, as it is open and honest. That is all we are prepared to say at this point as we are still waiting for an official response from the University's Senior Management Team."

    Funding Sources A Problem

    Vice Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor explained: “Student applicant numbers have declined and will continue to do so for the next few years. We have seen the removal of funding sources such as bursaries for nursing, and the government has removed inflation increases to the home student fee.

    “All of this has contributed to a much tougher operating and recruitment environment.”

    University Statement

    In a statement presented to Asian Sunday by the University, they say they have improved their academic and professional support quality substantially over the past few years. They will also continue to invest in academic developments and facilitate a major drive toward international recruitment.

    They added: “The planned cost reductions will involve reducing the staff complement by approximately 200 FTE roles. The University is running a voluntary severance scheme and is also carrying a number of vacancies, which will account for some of this necessary reduction. Unfortunately, however, we still need to reduce our staff by around 165 FTE roles. Where possible we will endeavour to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies.

    “We need to simplify and reshape our academic model and explore other opportunities that may enhance our teaching and research, generate income and increase efficiencies. Our aim is that by 2020/21 the University will have more overseas students, have a different, stronger and more effective academic shape and model, be leaner and have a well worked through offer as an organisation, with a smaller top management tier.

    “We recognise that this period will be challenging for all concerned, but full support will be provided for all staff and students through this time of change.”

    Local MP's Response

    Bradford South MP Judith Cummins said: “These potential job losses are a devastating blow for hard working staff. I am also very concerned about the impact this could have on the education of thousands of young people in Bradford and beyond.

    “I have already met with the trade union Unison and will be making my views about this serious issue very clear to the Vice-Chancellor of the University.”

    Shipley Conservative MP Philip Davies added: “I’m not entirely sure why they are blaming the government, if there’s one thing universities aren’t strapped for its cash.

    “Obviously it’s a concern for the people affected and I hope every effort will be made to help them get a new job quickly, it will be a massive worry for them and that should be the priority.”

    MP Naz Shah, whose constituency the University falls under was approached for comment but did not respond. MP for Bradford East Imran Hussain was also approached for comment but did not respond.

    Online Petition

    Since starting to cover this story Asian Sunday has learned students at the university have launched an online petition calling for a motion of no confidence against the Vice Chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor. In a statement released on Saturday the UBU made it known:

    “Being a student at the University, under the leadership of the Vice Chancellor, we have witnessed the declining standards of education and the overall student experience. As a part of the student body, we feel that this is a direct result of the “vision” and “strategy” pushed out by the Vice Chancellor. The University does not engage with the local community to tackle the real issues, resulting in students feeling unsafe, vulnerable and like outsiders.”

     

     

     

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    IOPC release update on four men who died in Bingley Road car crash

    Four men died in a car crash  the during the early hours of Thursday morning following a police chase.

    While the men are believed to have been identified on social media, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) do not want to officially name the men at this moment in time.

    In a statement IOPC have said:

    "Our investigation following a police pursuit in Bradford, in which four men died, is continuing to gather vital evidence.

    At around 5.30am this morning (2 August 2018) a grey BMW 1 Series crashed on Toller Lane. We understand that, prior to the incident, an unmarked West Yorkshire Police car began a pursuit of the BMW as it was being driven at speed. A short time later the car collided with a tree and all four men died at the scene.

    Two of the men have been formally identified. The other two men who died have not yet been formally identified. We have made the decision not to name the men at this time, until all their identifications have been confirmed and we are confident their next of kin have been informed.

    Our investigators attended the post incident procedures and will attend the post mortems of the four men when these take place. Statements from the officers involved, who are all being treated as witnesses, have been taken.

    We have overseen the removal of the police vehicle involved, and the BMW, and these will now be forensically examined for use in our independent investigation. We have established that there is dashcam footage from the police vehicle, which will be analysed in due course. We are also in the process of gathering local CCTV footage and will be conducting house to house enquiries over the coming days.

    Anyone who witnessed, or recorded, the incident is asked to contact us on 0800 096 9079 or email tollerlanebradford@policeconduct.gov.uk

    IOPC Regional Director Miranda Biddle: “This was a horrific incident, resulting in the deaths of four men, and our thoughts remain with their loved ones and all those affected.

    “Our investigators responded quickly following the referral from West Yorkshire Police, and were at the scene shortly after the crash – this is vital to ensure we establish key evidence at an early stage.

    “I would like to take this opportunity to invite anyone with information about the crash to come forward.”

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    Ground breaking documentary on extraordinary behind the scenes of the Haram in Mecca to be shown in 23 cities across the UK.

    International Humanitarian charity, Penny Appeal, are announcing a film tour, starting with the London showing of One Day in the Haram on Friday, 7 September. A documentary by critically acclaimed British Muslim filmmaker, writer, producer and director, Abrar Hussain, the film tells the extraordinary story of the Haram in Mecca (Makkah), and will be shown in 23 cities around the UK.

    This ground-breaking documentary tells the story of the Haram through the eyes of the people working in Mecca and addresses the motivations of their faith, as well as the logistics of providing a service catering to the needs of the millions of pilgrims visiting each and every year.

    For the first time ever, this documentary offers viewers unrestricted access to the inner workings of this most holy site, previously shrouded in mystery. The documentary was shot at 4k resolution using a variety of ground-based, helicopter, and drone video recordings to provide a beautiful and highly detailed viewing experience.

    The Haram, which is situated in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and surrounds the Islamic Qinah, is also known as the Masjid-al-haram. It is a place so revered by the Islamic world that non-Muslims are forbidden to enter. At present, the Haram hosts over five million people each year, especially during the time of the Hajj, a requirement of one of the five pillars of Islam, whereby all able-bodied Muslims must travel to the holy city.

    The documentary also discusses the Islamic rituals in great detail, while giving a rich history of the Haram, explaining the inner workings, beliefs, and traditions surrounding this most revered site, in a way that is enticing to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

    Director Hussain says he wants to “show how successfully the mosque is run, how organized its departments are, and how seriously its workers take their jobs.”

    Tickets available by calling 03000 11 11 11 or visit www.pennyappeal.org/event/one-day-haram  Prices starts from just £5, screenings will run from the 7 till 29 September, up and down the country from Cardiff to Edinburgh, including matinee performances in certain cities.

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    Community partnership aims to encourage residents to walk around the world in 80 days this summer.

    by MEHREEN KHAN

    Healthy Heaton partnership is working together to encourage and inspire the community to walk around the world in 80 days this summer.

    On Sunday, the partnership launched the Healthy Heaton challenge with a community day with a difference. This has motivated many, including a volunteer from Upper Heaton Working Together group who explained: “We need to do this for our children and change the way we live our lives and build activity into our every day routine. Health is wealth these days and with obesity and diabetes on the rise in our community we have to do our bit to reverse this trend.”

    Local residents could enjoy the free event if they joined in the challenge doing laps of the 500m track around Haworth Road Park. Residents also took part in touch rugby sessions, children’s wacky races, scavenger crafts, face painting and had a go on four giant inflatables. There were different bikes to try including a penny-farthing, 4-seater, and mountain bikes from the youth service.

    It’s free, good for your health, brings the community together and is also very enjoyable, as Cllr Mohammed Amran, chair of Bradford West Area Committee said: “Sunday was a fantastic community day promoting healthy lifestyles and community spirit. It was a great effort by volunteers. We now need residents to take up the challenge and walk with us to meet our 29,000 miles – the equivalent of walking around the world.”

    Children brought their broken bikes to be mended for free which proved to be very popular, and Bradford Bikery is going to hold follow-on sessions to meet the demand as it was very popular. Local people also signed up to adult cycling lessons, yoga and the re-launch of the ladies only walking club on Monday evenings which further promotes healthier lifestyles for the community.

    Staff from local organisations such as HALE, BYDP and Sharing Voices were on hand to give free health advice as well as a stall on Healthy eating and growing your own food was supported by volunteers. The event is followed by 80 days of community activities and residents of Heaton are invited to join the challenge

    Beckfoot Heaton Primary are leading the way by promoting their 1km day, Salem Rugby have free touch rugby sessions, Bradford Youth service will have bike taster sessions throughout the holidays with plenty more. For more information or to get involved visit https://healthyheaton.org/

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    Everything parents need to know on what the law says on school uniform rules when temperatures are rising

    by MEHREEN KHAN

    Here in the UK we are currently undergoing a heat wave, which we don’t often get to experience! However, while many of us are enjoying the sunshine in our summer clothes and being able to change whenever we want, some school children who don’t finish for the six-week holidays until late July are not allowed to wear cooler clothes and must stick to school uniform rules. For instance, a schoolboy from Wales was sent home for wearing shorts and later returned wearing a skirt, and a child from Leek was put into isolation for wearing shorts.

    Naturally, this has angered many parents across the country who believe their children should be allowed to wear cooler clothes during periods of hot weather. Hannah Parsons, Principle Associate Solicitor at DAS Law told Asian Sunday what the law says on this matter.

    Obviously, schools are totally entitled to have rules which require pupils to wear a school uniform.  This is the case across the entire country. The school therefore, has the right to then discipline pupils for not complying with the school uniform rules. However, they are expected to consider a reasonable request to vary the uniform policy, and must take care to ensure that any policy does not lead to discrimination.

    The Department of Education guidance strongly encourages schools to have a uniform. However, it also recommends that governing bodies should take into consideration the views of parents and pupils when making decisions. This is useful to know when we are faced with a heat wave, as children can often become uncomfortable, lethargic and restless staying in their usual school uniforms throughout the duration of the school day.

    So, can the school really send children home for not sticking to strict uniform rules?

    Hannah tells us that where there is a breach of the school uniform policy, either a Head Teacher or someone authorised, can suggest that a pupil goes home. The school is expected to consider carefully whether this would be appropriate though, as they must consider the child’s age, vulnerability, and the time and ease it will take the pupil, also keeping in mind the availability of the child’s parents. School uniform breaches are usually considered minor disciplinary matters; however, in some cases of repeated and persistent failures, exclusion may be necessary.

    So what rights do parents have who want to appeal a school’s decision on school uniform?

    Hannah says that whenever a school uniform policy is in place, a school is expected to consider reasonable requests to vary the policy and in particular when the request is made to meet the needs of individual pupils to accommodate their religion, ethnicity, disability or other special consideration. Hannah further advises that disputes about school uniform should be resolved locally and in accordance with the school’s complaints policy.  School governing bodies must have a complaints procedure to deal with issues about school uniform.

    Often school procedures for dealing with complaints provide for the complaint to be addressed to firstly, the member of staff responsible, then the Head of department and then Head teacher.  The next step would be to put the complaint in writing to the chair of governors.  Once the internal complaints and appeal process has been exhausted, the Department of Education can deal with complaints about schools.

    Hannah also advises that it’s not just school uniforms where rules have to be followed, but this can also be the case with appearance, where schools may also have rules. So, there could be legal implications on when a child has changed their appearance during school holidays such as a new hairstyle. Hannah advises that provided the rules are reasonable and don’t infringe equality legislation or suggest discrimination, the school is entitled to enforce the rules in accordance with its disciplinary policy.

    Where pupils change their appearance in the school holidays, both they and their parents need to be aware that on returning to school they will be expected to adhere to the school’s appearance policy.

    Other appearance issues such as new ear piercings, where a child can’t remove the earrings for 4-6 weeks can also impact on the school rules, especially if the child can’t remove their earrings for PE.

    Rules for the removal of jewellery during PE are quite common in school and are likely to be considered reasonable, as it is only set for health and safety purposes in case of injury.

    Many schools set out a specific policy for dealing with the situation where recently pierced earrings cannot be removed for PE lessons and therefore make way for children to be given another associated task. The school’s policy will often draw attention to the requirement regarding earrings, suggesting that any ear piercing takes into account the school policy.

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24 Mar 2016
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25 Mar 2016

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