Day 59 – Integrity

On Sundays SMS takes a slightly different view of affairs which is a little more philosophical.

When someone has integrity, their actions are true to their beliefs, they make decisions that can be tough but are also right according to them.

Unfortunately, integrity can turn into rigid adherence to one side of an argument even when all the evidence points the other way.

SMS believes that this is now the position with the two and three tier debate in Bedford Borough. The very few individuals who support two tier are dogmatically sticking to their view of the world, even when their arguments have been dismantled one by one.

Anybody who attended one of the official consultation evenings will have observed this as, time after time, evidence was swept aside by unsupported statements such as “We believe that…”, “It may be true…”, “I know that…”

During the coming week, SMS are holding 4 meetings of their own (bringing to 10 the number we have held so far). Our meetings will have addressed more individuals than the official consultation evenings by the end of the consultation process and accessed more communities.

Why not come to one of our meetings and listen to the other side of the story? We even invite any members of the two-tier side of the debate to come and speak in favour of change. We are much more open to honest debate than the official consultation evenings…

Mon 29th June 7pm at Beauchamp Middle School in Brickhill
Tue 30th June 7pm at Woodside Middle School in Bedford
Wed 1st July 7pm at Harrold Village Hall
Thu 2nd July 8:15pm at Bromham Village Hall

Let all your friends know too – we only have word of mouth and the wonders of the interweb to spread our news…

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4 Responses to Day 59 – Integrity

  1. sarah k says:

    One of the problems I have had with this process from the start has been the failure of the people who propose two tier to enter into an open and honest debate. Why not? This is an important change and it seems to me that it would have been sensible to have open debates which try to engage and involve eveyone in this process. But it appears that people who have recommended two tier have attempted to do the opposite. That is, to stifle debate, to restrict views and opinion to a few people, with a “we know better than you,” attitude.
    How strange, is it a realisation that their arguments fail when scrutinised? Or is it arrogance, that really believes parents should do as they are told?

  2. JamesD says:

    Integrity?
    Why did the Council Officers use “Gee Whiz” graphs to exaggerate the difference in pupils’ attainment in Bedford Boro versus our Statistical Neighbours? Why didn’t they mention that in 2008 Beds CC spent £197 per pupil less than the English average? Why did they not show a graph showing that our Statistical Neighbours who spent more on education achieved better results than Bedford Boro Schools in 2008? Why after 2 weeks am I still awaiting a request for a set of complete cohort (1999 KS1 to 2008 GCSE) results from KS1 to GCSE?

  3. Sally says:

    I sat down with my Year 3 son this morning and explained the difference between a 2-tier and 3-tier system in terms of how the year groups are structured.
    I then asked him how he would like the prospect of staying at Lower/Primary school for another 3 years instead of moving on to middle school after one more year.
    He looked at me in horror and said ‘no way!’He then asked ‘How would all those children fit in?’ You may well ask my dear!
    Even, or maybe I should say especially, a child can see the major practical difficulties associated with the proposed plan to enlarge the lowers.
    Bob the Builder and all his friends are going to have their work cut out!
    Just to let everyone know…I’m still waiting for Mr Branston to reply to my email sent 7th June. Just shows how much he cares. Has anyone else had any luck?

    He can’t wait to get to middle school and enjoy

  4. Colin Mosedale says:

    Sally – I had better luck – Frank had the last word on 15 June (email below) – I also attach the preceeding e-mail trail – so read bottom upwards – I think it makes interesting reading.

    Thank you for your reply. I consider the officers are the best people to present the argument for change and the supporters of three tier are the best to argue for the status quo. I have asked people of different opinions on the issue itself and they have said they consider the presentation and the documentation to be fair. I fear that not everybody will be satisfied whatever one does.

    Frank

    ========================================

    From: Colin Mosedale Sent: 12 June 2009 13:41
    To: Frank Branston
    Subject: Re: Fair and balanced?

    Sorry, Frank – the last point I made suggesting you present was meant in good humour !

    ========================
    From: Frank Branston

    To: Colin Mosedale

    Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 1:21 PM

    Subject: RE: Fair and balanced?

    I do not present the case for two-tier because I am awaiting the results of the consultation before taking a position. Frank

    ====================================

    From: Colin Mosedale
    Sent: 12 June 2009 12:38
    To: Frank Branston
    Cc: Chris Hilliard
    Subject: Re: Fair and balanced?
    Importance: High

    Dear Frank

    Thank you for your prompt response. Yes, they should have been “no holds barred” meetings but discussion was severely limited and in no way compensated for a completely biased and inaccurate Consultation document.

    There are still too many personal assertions being made by the Officers which are not backed up by evidence or research. The financial case for two tier is a weak one, backed as it is by guesstimates and huge uncertainties around the funding of converting lower schools to primaries.

    For my part, I still have many questions that remain unanswered; that was the whole point behind asking for some “air-time” to present our research and conclusions, none of which incidentally is covered in Chris Hilliard’s slot on the pros and cons of both structures .

    I take it from your response below that you will continue to bar the parents from making such a presentation. I still hold the view that this is unfair and unbalanced – indeed undemocratic.

    So…please attend the remaining two public meetings and do not rely on feedback from others.

    Even better, encourage one of your officers to present at the remaining Middle school evenings – or why not present the case for 2 tier yourself?

    Yours Sincerely

    Colin Mosedale

    ===============================================
    From: Frank Branston

    To: Colin Mosedale

    Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 11:15 AM

    Subject: RE: Fair and balanced?

    Dear Colin,

    There have now been several consultation meetings and it appears from first hand reports and those in the press that they were no-holds barred meetings so it seems that all issues, including the case for three tier, have been thoroughly discussed.

    Sorry about sending your email to somebody who had already received it but, as I used to say in my newspaper days, better twice than not at all.

    Frank
    =========================================
    From: Colin Mosedale Sent: 11 June 2009 21:40
    To: Frank Branston
    Cc: Chris Hilliard
    Subject: Re: Fair and balanced?
    Importance: High

    Dear Frank

    Thank you for forwarding my comments to Chris Hilliard – which of course I had already done 2 days ago !!!

    If you read the original communication that I sent you a week ago, I was asking you to bring your influence to bear on what I considered to be an important issue.

    After all, it was referring to comments that you had placed in the press ….not Chris.

    A week later you copy my communication to someone who had already received it !

    Have you anything else to say on this matter?

    Yours Sincerely

    Colin

    =====================================

    From: Frank Branston

    To: Colin Mosedale

    Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 5:29 PM

    Subject: RE: Fair and balanced?

    Thank you, Colin. Have forwarded your comments to Chris Hilliard. Frank

    ==================================================
    From: Colin Mosedale
    Sent: 09 June 2009 04:22
    To: Frank Branston
    Cc: Chris Hilliard
    Subject: Fw: Fair and balanced?
    Importance: High

    Dear Frank copy Chris

    In the absence of a reply from you, it was left to a member of the public to request a 5 minute “comments” slot at the Biddenham meeting last night from Tony Dadd.

    This, after Chris Hilliard had made it quite clear the Panel were willing to listen to both comments and questions.

    This was immediately rejected as the emphasis would be on questions only.

    Over the next hour and a half several members of the audience were granted similar time slots where no questions , only observations and comments surfaced.

    This to my mind was unfair and unbalanced; I urge the Council to achieve a better balance at future meetings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Colin Mosedale

    =================================================
    From: Colin Mosedale

    To: frank.branston@bedford.gov.uk

    Sent: Friday, June 05, 2009 9:53 PM

    Subject: Fw: Fair and balanced?

    Dear Frank

    The first public meeting as you know is this coming Monday in Biddenham.

    Would you either bring your influence to bear on the issue that I raise below or at least let me know your views before the meeting starts.

    I thank you in anticipation.

    Yours Sincerely

    Colin Mosedale

    ============================================

    From: Colin Mosedale

    To: frank.branston@bedford.gov.uk

    Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 6:30 AM

    Subject: Fair and balanced?

    Dear Frank

    I read with interest your column in this weeks Times and Citizen. You say “we have embarked on the consultation which will be fair and balanced”.

    The document the Council have released gives a mere 18 words about the retention of a 3 tier structure. This seems unfair and unbalanced to me and indeed is not in line with the recommendations of your Scrutiny Committee.

    Perhaps you could restore the balance and fairness by inviting the Save Middle Schools Parents team to have a presentation slot at the 6 open evenings called by the Council?

    Yours Sincerely

    Colin Mosedale

    Putnoe

    ======================================

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