Day 84 – Press Coverage

Today in the Times & Citizen , SMS lays out it’s case in 300 words – a blog-length in other words. You can compare this to Brian Glover’s piece in favour of the change and please let us know what you think by commenting on this here amd writing letters of support to the T&C…

SMS has received some very even-handed coverage from the press during the 12 weeks we have been in existence, so a big thank you to the T&C, BoS, Heart FM Bedford, BBC 3CR and BBC Look East. We are not professional lobbyists and it would have been easy to misrepresent our views.

We haven’t promised anyone cars or holidays for favourable coverage – not even a beer (mmm beer) – all we have done is advertise what we are doing and why we are doing it…and the stories have continued to be written…fairly and proportionately with both sides asked for their views…so the Fourth Estate has been shown to be effective in Bedford…and long may it continue…

However, some of our opponents have portrayed us as conducting an aggressively organised campaign, especially with reference to the official consultation meeting held at Sharnbrook Upper School.

Oh were that the case ! On that evening, only 2 members of SMS were present and they thought that the over-riding feel would be pro-two-tier. The audience actually surprised us with its vehement rejection of the bureaucrats’ proposals. Most of those making the loudest representations were not even known to us ! How authentic can you get ?!

Wherever SMS has been in Bedford Borough, the ordinary parent view has been overwhelmingly in our favour, even without knowing the arguments against change. When these arguments are given, around 90% of parents are on our side.

This is what has been so worrying about the consultation process – two sides of the story have not been heard by everyone – and the consultation document itself (which is a disgrace) is the only point of reference for most parents, apart from of course what schools have communicated.

Tomorrow, the consultation period ends. You have only 1 day left to persuade all your friends and acquaintances to fill in the consultation document…then we shall see what the people have said…



2 Responses to Day 84 – Press Coverage

  1. JamesD says:

    What has become obvious in the last 12 weeks is the months, if not years, of Council preparation for the change of School structure to 2-Tier in Bedfordshire and, after the Unitary Authority decision, Bedford Borough. Councillor Drinkwarter was using the terms “Secondary” and “Primary” more than 2 years ago. She was prepared to force 2-Tier on Bedford and Kempston by “Executive Decision” but the Minister’s decision on unitary authority put paid to that. However, the decision did not stop the council officers’ collusion with those in the Bedford Education Establishment who wanted their power and influence to expand: briefings for Upper School heads only; unpublished meetings of Lower School Heads with Council Officers; BSF planning and training only for Upper School staff and governors – all preparing the ground for the push for 2-Tier by conditioning the staff and parents that the change was inevitable.
    At the consultation meetings it was obvious from the first that the Council Officers were attempting to control who spoke and about what. Their prevarication, lack of detailed planning and patronising approach was outrageous; only matched by the incompetence shown in the Consultation Document itself.
    Our democracy is being threatened in Bedford Borough by those who will have their way regardless of the opinions and concerns of the majority. There has been an attempt to manipulate public opinion using persuasive techniques and miss-information by public officials. The mistrust and divisions they have already sown amongst Bedford Borough schools and parents will already have done damage to the education of our children.

  2. KDev says:

    I was at the Sharnbrook consultation evening; I heard two significant statements at that meeting, neither from the platform:
    From one of the educational elite “the trouble is that some school governor’s will not do as they are told” and the second from a parent “I do not want my children to be collateral damage”.
    Sharnbrook and the North Bedfordshire Schools Trust has almost become a mini Local Education Authority in their own right. They are very successful but have always held many advantages over the other areas of Bedford Borough. I too was amazed at the reaction of parents at the Sharnbrook meeting, I expected full support for 2-Tier, not the overwhelming support for retaining 3-Tier and that funds were needed elsewhere in Bedford Borough before North Bedfordshire.

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