Friday, 25 January 2013

Education, education, education.

This Week schools in Suffolk were hit with a second set of bad results, leading to education becoming the lead story in local papers over the last few days. Ben Gummer has even managed to get the head of Ofsted along to Ipswich this morning to talk to all Heads. I say all Heads, in fact only Heads of schools in his constituency – this has made a number of other Heads unhappy especially as they teach a number of Ben Gummers residents even if their school sits outside the Ipswich constituency.

The school I am involved with, Sidegate Primary has just had a disappointing Ofsted report and has led Ipswich Spy to be critical of myself (and to be even handed also Cllr Terry) as we are governors of the school and we were also criticised in the report.

There is no doubt in my mind that many Ipswich primary schools will now find themselves classed as ‘inadequate’ or even placed into ‘special measures’. This week we saw Broke Hall School in Bixley (with Tory Cllr Governors) slip from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’

So Ipswich Spy may be right all leaders in education need to be held responsible. I am not talking about Gove (though many would like to see him moved) but let’s look at the Tory run Suffolk County Council – we now have a council that has some of the worst preforming primary schools and now this week we are shown that we have some of the worst preforming Secondary schools- when you take away the City Education authorities from the table, Suffolk as a county is at the bottom.

These poor results have even seen Ben Gummer be critical of the Tory run council – we are normally told very quickly by Tories that when an organisation fails so miserably that those responsible should go- but Cllr Newman is still sat as Head of Education in the County. But I would not like him to go, I find him a decent man who has the best interests of the children of the county as his priority but though he is in the paper every day we have heard nothing from Mark Bee the County Leader, or any other members of his cabinet, the likes of Colin Noble who seem more interested in promoting ‘Free Schools’.

Ipswich Spy may accuse governors in failing Sidegate School what about the County cabinet – of course Cllr Terry sits on both bodies.

But Sidegate is not failing, if Ipswich Spy had been able to see the full detail of the report they may have a different view, on Tuesday we had a parents meeting at the school and over 160 parents attended plus staff and members of the governing body (Cllr Terry could not attend as in London) and the feeling of the parents was that the school is not failing their children and the praise for the Head and her team were most warming.

But Suffolk is falling behind nationally in education standards but the first people to be held responsible should be the Tory County Cabinet.

But what of central government? Mr Gove has been quiet this week but Mr Pickles has now told us that 'Free Schools' can set up in any building they wish and do not even need planning permission- but if a state run school would still need planning permission just to build new classrooms (though not many can afford to build anything under this government).

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