Day 75 – Full Council to Decide

So, a victory for common sense prevailed yesterday when Frank Branston announced via his blog that legal advice had indicated that any restructuring of our schools system should be decided by Full Council vote – that is 36 councillors plus the mayor with the Speaker holding the casting vote should there be a tie (remember, councillors may abstain so a tie is possible).

All the best news is announced by blog nowadays apparently…we’ll post the official notification of the legal advice here when it arrives sometime today…(see email response from Phil Simpkins – Chief Exec of Bedford Borough – below)

Thanks too, to all the dedicated local councillors who made representations on our behalf, or, if they don’t agree with us or our campaign, on behalf of the voters and taxpayers in their wards.

We would urge all councillors now to engage with both sides in this vital decision, and, after the consultation period has ended on July 24th, hear representations from SMS in the form of a presentation and Q&A session. We are happy to do this in political or mixed groupings or in one large group. We want to debate with you – this is what local democracy is about…

We would also urge Chris Hilliard (Director of Children’s Services) to begin working on a Plan B for three-tier BSF funding of Bedford Borough. Should the decision be for a transformation of the three-tier system so that we have schools fit for the 21st century, then we will all have to work hard to gain that funding, and SMS is willing to provide expertise to help with that urgent task.

It is now more important than ever that if you support SMS, that you lobby councillors, and spread the news about our campaign. This is most definitely not a done deal.



Dear Mr Dadd

I have now received definite legal advice which confirms if the Executive, at its meeting on 16 September 2009, considers that the school structure should be changed it will need to make a recommendation to Full Council. Given the importance of the decision Group Leaders have agreed that a Special Full Council will be held on Thursday, 24 September 2009. For clarity, if the Executive decide that there should be no change to the school structure there will be no need for the Special Council meeting.

I trust the foregoing answers your enquiry.


Philip Simpkins
Chief Executive

3 Responses to Day 75 – Full Council to Decide

  1. William says:

    How is this for a thought, if the vote is tied after all members have voted on abstained……

    If the speaker, Cllr Roger Rigby isn’t in attendance (and to be honest would you attend knowing the final decision could land on your shoulders)and also the deputy speaker, Cllr Davey, isn’t in attendance then the full council have to agree on who would be a tempoary speaker for the vote -who will be put forward……

    Also if Cllr Rigby isn’t there and Cllr Davey is we all know how close she is to the mayor (Better Bedford party etc etc)

    Could a conspiracy theory be born?

    I also wonder if Cllr Attenborough, Cllr Hodgson and Cllr Oliver will alow free votes or will the whips be out?

  2. hi all

    this is small blog that i have hade with the Mayor on his blog so any coments would be appriciated pro od against and cllrs please read just to see if you can ad to my debate
    In the increasingly shrill and desperate bid by supporters of three-tier education tro defend middle schools I have been accused of lots of things, including supporting two-tier because I want to have a primary school named after me (!!!).

    Recently the frenzy has been over who takes the final decision, myself alone or the executive composed of nine members from all groups plus me as chairman, or by full council.

    As I have pointed out many times, to individual correspondents and the media, I would prefer it taken by the full council of 36 members plus me. In the event of a tie, the Speaker would have the casting vote. In other words my vote would be one among 37.

    This is not an issue which has been faced by any directly-elected mayor so it was decided to seek counsel’s opinion. It has now come back and I can’t help smiling at the irony.

    The recommendation has to go to the executive. Any decision to change will go forward to full council. But if the decision is for status quo it can be taken by the executive and would be final.

    In other words, if I and the executive were to take the decision it would signify that supporters of three-tier had won. If it goes to full council, it will still be to play for.

    The middle-school defenders should remember the old saying: be careful what you wish for.

    my reply now follows

    hello frank

    well i am the person that wrote the coment about the Frank Branston Primary School, and i will say i wrote from the heart and i think this is not an inapropriate comment, as some one tha had to endure the last time bedford changed its education around, i think i can make a well balenced jugement of the pitfalls and time i takes to get it right, am i am sorry to say all the comments i see fill me with dread, firstly i have two children about to embark on there education, if this change will take place can you garantee that their education will not suffer, and can i hold you and the elected officials responsable even after you have left office to task over this and if nessary hold you responsable, i am willing to meet an talk over my concerns with if you so wish?

    on another level i work in a school that will probaly close and due to my postion of being support staff and being by the time school close i will be 53 unlightly to find a new job, so i will be interested how you intend to address these issues across the county as many staff like myself will probaly become uninployed, as simple mathamatics says three in to two will not go, ok teachers still needed but the rest?? so how many jobs will go 200, 300, or by my best calculations 600??

    one last point i am dislexic but i cope, but i fell through the system because in the last change no one cared and this may happen againe because all lower and upper staff will be strugaling to cope with all the new students and simply 700 lower and 2300 upper means you will miss the ones that need the help, and how long before small or lower schools that donot have the space to expand start to be moved, merged and closed dispite what your document says simple maths again

    you can contact me on jonathanccna gmail dot com ok

    regards jonathan Parsons

    One time supporter and voter

    now the mayor reply to me

    In response to Jonathan Parsons Nobody can guarantee that two tier would be an improvement. Equally, nobody can prove that three-tier weould be better. All that is known is that the current three-tier model is not producing good results at GCE O-level stage and that is what parents and employewrs want to see.

    The vast majority of educationalists support two-tier and while they MIGHT be wrong, if one ignores experts what has one got left.

    And I still say that accusing me of going through this process to get my name on a primary school is insulting. My desire is to do my best for Bedford children – many as yet unborn – in decades to come. It is your privilege to say I am going the wrong way about it but don’t impugn my movtives.

    and now my reply take note of the GCE O level??
    Dear Mayor

    I have no wish to insult or be insulting, but am puzzled by some parts of your response. If you wish to do the best for all bedfords children and those as you say still to come, why do wish to push this? I can agree results count, but at what cost? Can we not simply remap our existing schools with the £300m, rather than using it to create a system that will need still further investment to bring it to standard? It seems to me that the upper and lower school heads are simply empire building, at the cost of childrens education.

    It is GCSEs now not GCE O-levels (only for the last 20 years or so though) due to problems with the old system, the following link should provide edification

    As I asked in my previous comment, will you be taking responsibility for this system as it unfolds over the next 15 years, or will it be left to parents like myself to pick up the pieces of disrupted education?
    I beleive as a member of the electorate on a forum for discussion it is more than appropriate for me to challenge and question your motives when you are acting in a professional capacity. I beleive a change will be a gross misappropriation of funds and will continue to challenge this, as it is childrens education that will be impinged by this change. Whilst the two tier system may be great once it is settled, I beleive every child matters, including those of today, who will without question be disrupted.
    In addition, could you please cite your sources when you say the vast majority of experts beleive a change to a two tier system will not cause problems for education during the considerable transition period, because that is not research I have seen.

    Yours faithfully

    jonathan Parsons

    if you wish to read the total blog it is on

  3. jonathan parsons says:

    well it seems the mayor did not wish to publish my responce to him so it is here instead

    ps i and told i was hogging the blog and this is what is written

    Jonathan Parsons wants to know why I have not used his latest comment. It is because we have already published one verry long comments and two shorter ones from him today. I do not want the comments section monopolised by one person.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: