Day 85 – The Numbers Game

Today at 10:30am a petition containing nearly 8000 signatures will be presented to Bedford Borough’s Chief Executive Phil Simpkins by a delegation of parents and children from across Bedford Borough.

We expect by the time the decision is made to have collected in excess of 10,000 signatures.

This blog has now received 25,000 hits.

£340M of BSF funding cannot be used for the lower-primary change which means that the primary change will be underfunded, chaotic and disorganised.

3.5% or more on council tax or cuts in services to fund primary change.

20-30,000 children will be affected by any decision to change to two-tier over the next 10 years or longer.

300-500 middle school teachers have been told they will be allocated one ring-fenced job in a primary or secondary school and if they refuse will have assumed to have resigned.

Brian Glover has claimed that 100 “youngsters” per year group are being disadvantaged at GCSE by our system.

Zero evidence that two-tier education produces better results than three-tier.

Nobody knows how many children take Key Stage 1 in state lower schools and then go on to take their GCSEs in independent schools.

Bedford Borough could vote to change to two-tier with only 1/3 of Full Council supporting the decision (12 out of the 36 councillors plus the mayor need to support two-tier)…which is why SMS wants to speak to every councillor during the summer.

£20-40K to take the council to Judicial Review based on a flawed consultation process.

…and this is Democracy?

Contact your councillor today to let them know how you feel

11 Responses to Day 85 – The Numbers Game

  1. Leodis says:

    More numbers today from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, as reported in the Guardian:

    Britain will face spending cuts of more than 16% to key public services, such as law and order and higher education, if Labour and the Tories deliver on their goals to protect schools, hospitals and defence, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned.

    As the two main parties gear up for a bitter general election battle that will be dominated by this issue, the IFS says Britain is facing a decade of pain that will see the tightest constraint in public service spending since 1977.

    Concern has grown already this week about immediate shortfalls in the culture and education budgets, but the Guardian is publishing research by the IFS at the start of a two-day series on the future of public spending which reveals that spending on a majority of public services will have to be cut by up to 16.3% over the next three-year spending period – 2011-14 – if the next government is to deliver real-term rises for health, schools, defence and overseas aid.

    Now if this is the case we have to look at the promise, especially for education: real-term rises. This to me means in current budgets. Where savings could be made they will be. If the rest of the public service are looking at over 16% worth of cuts where on earth do we think the £340m for schools will come from OVER and ABOVE real-term rises in schools revenue budgets.

    It just does not add up!

  2. Ed Thomas says:

    I find this a very worrying and concerning time for Democracy in Bedfordshire. With the unitary council system does the county still exist, maybe in name only? You can understand why the general public are disillusioned with politics. I am sure many people are thinking:
    (1) Can we really make a difference?
    (2) Can non-executive council members truly make a difference? When the goalposts keep moving and moving!
    Am I right in thinking, if I lived in Central Bedfordshire the rules of the decision-making process would be different, just because they don’t have a pie-eating mayor!

    All the public want is to see Councillors and politicians, especially who make the big decisions, who are fair, honest and represent the people! I feel the last bit is very important! Since the consultation process started this does not seem to happening. Bedford Borough has become a very undemocratic place to be. A full council vote just means keeping voting, voting and voting until the Council members buckle to pressure and the Mayor and his executive wins and gets their way.

    I know in 2006, Madeleine Russell and her Council wanted the same result as the Mayor does now, but at least ,in my eyes, the process was conducted in fair and unbiased way. The consultation was carried out by an independent body (Surrey), who reported their findings to the council. Throughout this consultation, my main concern is who is reading the consultation documents and collating the results. Is this truly independent! How do we know the results provided by the Borough Council truly reflect the consultation documents? Who is checking?

    Again, yesterday in the T and C, we had Brain Glover giving the same spin for a change to two-tier. Throughout his piece, his statements were opinions and hearsay, not facts backed up with research. Again he implied the BSF was hinged on this consultation. No, Brain, this lifetime opportunity would be available anyway if Bedford Borough is two-tier, three-tier or mixed! By the way, has the BSF figure gone up from £340 million to £350 million (see T and C)? At no time have the Bedford Borough public been told how this money would be split up? Probably the North Beds Federation will get £300 million and the rest to Bedford and Kempston! Where did this figure come from? I am sure Iain Wright? (Schools Minster) informed the BSF is calculated by pupil numbers and not as a bulk figure?

    After hearing and seeing Brain Glover in action, I deeply concerned we have this man anywhere near this consultation, and deeply entrenched in the roots of education in Bedford.

    Today, as we know is the last day for the consultation, I amazed how many unanswered questions I still have, and even more concerning the continued misleading propaganda coming from the Palace of Branston Borough, the undemocratic state of Bedfordshire.


    • Leodis says:

      Ed – for a consultation to end with more questions than answers is unacceptable in my mind. What does it say about:

      1) The way in which the consultation has been conducted?
      2) What the intention of the consultation was in the first place?

      …it certainly wasn’t to really ask us our opinions!

  3. SB says:

    The consultation meeting I attended at mark Rutherford raised many more questions than it answered and I don’t doubt that all the others were very similar. There were still people with their hands up waiting in vain to be heard when that meeting drew to a close. Based on what I heard that night and what I have read in the consultation document there are no satisfactory answers.
    I have sent my reply to Borough Hall but do I feel confident that it, and all the others will be assessed fairly and objectively by an organisation which is genuinely interested in our views and opinions? Can we have faith that the views of a powerful minority will not push aside those of what I suspect will be the majority of parents?
    Well, having seen the way this consultation has been conducted so far I can only feel deep concern.
    However I shall strive to remain optimistic and look forward to being pleasantly surprised.

  4. A Governor says:

    Interesting – someone has just told me that the consultation has already closed (and it’s currently about 4pm).

    Admittedly the consultation document does not say when on the 24th July the consultation would close but the website is already stopping people making their voices heard and it’s not even the end of normal office hours, let alone the end of the 24th!

  5. Speechless says:

    I have, until now never taken a great interest in local politics thinking that it has no real impact on my life. I thought it was just people full of their own self importance trying to make a name for themselves. This process has reinforced my views ( Frank Branston please take note – you once knocked on my front door and if I knew then what I know now then I certainly would not have voted for you. But I don’t thnk you would dare campaign door to door in Great Barford now). I have signed the petition, attended the meetings and completed the consultation document and while I am not against a 2 tier system, I am against the disruption it will cause to my son’s education (he is just about to start year 4). I could write pages and pages but as it has been said already there are still too many unanswered questions. The consultation document is unbalanced and the subsequent actions and statements of many of the local councillors that we have elected have made a very average mum become very interested in local politics! Watch this space.

  6. Doug McMurdo says:

    Are you sure of your facts. I support your viewpoint if you are able to substantiate the statement, BUT I believe it is clear – “Please remember that responses must be submitted by noon on 24 July 2009.” – see the Council Website –

    • A Governor says:

      Hi Doug,

      I was looking at the actual consultation document itself (the official paper document) – it makes no mention of a noon cut-off.

    • A Governor says:

      Hi again Doug,

      Yes, I am told you are correct, that it did say noon on the website but, as far as I can tell (and I’ve just looked again) not in the actual consultation document itself (the document itself gives no cut-off time – it just says the 24th).

      However, I understand that when this was pointed out yesterday the Borough opened up the website responses again and they remained open until midnight.

      Personally, I find that quick response and action from Borough quite impressive and they should be congratulated for it.

      • Leodis says:

        …or cynically – a recognition that if they didn’t open it up to midnight having not publicised it on the main consultation documentation it could be used in a judicial review against them?

      • Doug McMurdo says:

        Thank you for taking the time to check, I gave my last copy away recently!

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: