A row has broken out over the number of exclusions from Academy schools sponsored by leading Christian Charity, Oasis.
Oasis, headed by Rev Steve Chalke MBE, has a number of primary and secondary academies around the UK, including in some of the country’s most deprived wards.
But after media reports showing that Oasis Academy Mayfield in Southampton had excluded 11 pupils since it opened in September, questions have been asked about the inclusive nature of academy education.
The Southampton exclusions are understood to account for one third of the pupils permanently excluded from school in the whole city.
But Steve Chalke has hit out at the claims, saying that Oasis Academies have a culture of inclusivity, and that he has hard facts to show that Oasis Academies don’t exclude.
He had prepared a dossier of evidence to present to BBC’s Newsnight, but his interview was dropped at the last moment.
Now Jonathan Bartley of the Christian Thinktank Ekklesia has questioned whether Oasis Academies are really inclusive, citing exclusion figures from Salford, Immingham and Grimsby as evidence.
In a twitter discussion about the issue with Rev Chalke, he said he was ‘finding it v hard to believe your claim of "hard evidence that Oasis academies dont exclude"’
Oasis began in 1985 with a hostel for homeless young people, it now has numerous educational, healthcare and housing initiatives around the world.
Steve Chalke was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List 2004 for his services to social inclusion.
January 17th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross