Day 37 – “Readiness to Deliver”

A record 608 visitors to this blog yesterday, including many of our most famous local politicians and bureaucrats apparently. You’re all welcome guys…maybe we’ll even convert you?

SMS met with Chris Hilliard yesterday in an open and honest discussion about the consultation meetings and the decision-making process. We were encouraged by his obvious passion for education and his commitment to Bedford Borough. He has done a fantastic job in gaining preliminary agreement for BSF funding. Chris also reaffirmed that he was absolutely behind a bid for BSF funding whether this should be for two tier or three tier education and that the key point was “readiness to deliver”.

SMS entirely agrees. That is why the current three-tier system, which is in place already, should be enhanced through a process of evolution, rather than a damaging, underfunded and educationally unsound revolution to two tier. What is more “ready to deliver” than a set of existing sites?

This also makes complete financial sense. Everybody is worried about what will happen under a new Government, of whatever hue. Nobody can guarantee funding decisions for the future. If funding is gained for a revolutionary move to two tier and then cut at some point in the future, the whole project collapses. Under an evolution of the existing three-tier system, if funding were revealed to be cut, then only some sub-projects would be cancelled, to be reinstated at a later date when money became available.

It would be financially very stupid to do anything else at this point in the economic cycle, aside from the myriad of other reasons not to change…

Help us stop this going any further. Come to the official consultation evenings next week and make your voices heard. That’s what democracy is about.

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6 Responses to Day 37 – “Readiness to Deliver”

  1. JamesD says:

    Chris Hilliard is to be congratulated as he was the first Council Officer to openly state that BSF funds for Bedford did not rely on a change to the school structure. Unfortunately, this has had no effect on some Upper School and Lower School Headteachers who are still giving their parents this false information.
    In your meeting did Mr Hilliard agree to correct the misleading statements, see yesterday’s blog, about Bedford Borough GCSE results in the Consultation Document?

    • Lindsay S says:

      After attending a meeting at Alban Middle school this week and hearing more about the SMS campaign I would like to share my observations…

      On this subject of Lower and Upper School Heads giving their parents ‘false’ information.

      It occured to me that this is as a result of classic divide and rule tactics by local govt politicians etc. If the Lower and Upper schools think that they are going to get something more out of a two tier structure well…

      Also on the issue of the BSF. For local goverment etc changing from 3 to 2 tier structure is the easiest/fastest way to go about ‘building’ a case to get the money from central govt.

      If you want to be really cynical it is also an excellent way to get access to land and infastructure that can also generate revenue for local govt.

      For example Alban Middle School has quite extensive playing fields that could be used as house building land by ‘developers’. Really from this perspective it is a win win senario for both local goverment and developers. Income from two sources at the same time BSF and from selling off land/building new houses/schools etc.

      Developers are certainly interested in land in Great Barford…For example the parish council was pushed to sell a childrens play area, in Chapel Field, to add more land for a house building development. This was, incidently, defeated by local people opposing the sale of the land.

      This may seem irrelevant but I have seen what happened to my old senior school Norton Road (2 tier structure) in Letchworth in Hertfordshire. It was by all accounts quite a scandalous rundown and closure of a school and selling off of the site to house building developers. This occured despite a lack of schools for that age group in that part of the town. Now children are bused to other schools outside of the area. Sound familiar? Apparently the schedule for this school closure was timed to occur just before a preservation order was due to be enforced due to the age of the school buildings. I think 2 or 3 generations of my family attended the school.

      Anyway I hope my comments prove helpful in some way. I will be trying to support the SMS campaign where and when I can.

  2. savemiddleschools says:

    I think perhaps you would have to ask him that pertinent question James…

  3. Maureen says:

    Still waiting for a reply from John Goldsmith to my query about GCSE results.

    Dismayed to overhear a parent at a school summer fair today remark that she wasn’t really bothered about it all and didn’t want to get involved in all that”stuff”
    Trying to stay positive in the face of total apathy from some quarters.

  4. sarah k says:

    Maureen, I know what you mean! Don’t give up though, at a similar event today I saw pockets of debates around the school (I even joined in a few) and the overwhelming response is one of shock and anger when people actually stop, listen and think about the proposals.

  5. Colin Mosedale says:

    Having managed multi million pound projects myself, I am bewildered at the quality of this Consultation document. All projects should have clearly defined success criteria – if a change in structure is to deliver better educational standards what exactly is the Borough’s target? Are there any other measures of success? e.g. lower turnover of staff, improved Ofsted ratings. If so, define these targets and measure performance against them. And what is equally galling is that there appears to be no breakdown of how the money will be spent, the realisation proceeds are simply a guesstimate and there is no section in the document as to how project risks will be mitigated against.

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