Last night at Bedford Borough’s Full Council meeting, SMS asked a two-part question of the Speaker, who asked the Mayor to respond.
1. Would you please clarify the decision-making process now that legal advice has been given, especially with regard to the majorities needed at each stage in Executive and Full Council.
2. As Full Council now has a role to play in any decision to change schools structure, and bearing in mind that a common belief is that the public consultation document (and indeed process) has been very one-sided, would you allow a presentation of the alternative view against change to be made at Full Council before members are asked to vote on this issue.
Frank Branston’s response to the first question was extremely confusing to those members of SMS in the audience and the Speaker eventually intervened to suggest that Phil Simpkins (Chief Execeutive of Bedford Borough) write to SMS to clarify the majorities needed at the various stages of the process. We will post that information when it arrives.
In answer to the second part of the question, Frank Branston said that it was his intention to hold an informal public meeting where supporters of both two and three tier would make their case.
Critically, he didn’t say whether all councillors would be expected to attend, whether SMS would be invited to present for three-tier, and when this would be held. Frank also merely said that it was his intention…not whether it would actually happen.
SMS could always present for both sides you know…a bit like the consultation meetings where Chris Hilliard presented for both sides.
SMS now calls for Frank Branston to arrange this “informal” meeting as soon as possible after the consultation period has ended, preferably during the week beginning July 27th and with all councillors strongly invited to attend. Should they be unavailable on the chosen evening, SMS will contact them individually or in groups to arrange to meet.
Again, we will post here when the date is known…
After the replies to our questions, SMS made a short statement to Full Council.
We oppose the change to two-tier on educational and financial grounds based on evidence rather than supposition or conjecture.
We believe that the costs (both financial and human) of this massive disruption far outweigh the benefits – if any benefits exist at all.
We would emphasise that Every Child Matters and this includes the generation of children that would be negatively impacted by any decision to change.
ALL WE ASK FOR IS THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD
Don’t forget to keep talking about this issue, keep it in the news, keep thinking about how you can help today.