Day 91 – Authenticity

Time to take stock after only 13 weeks of this organisation existing!

SMS isn’t two blokes and a dog called Scruffy. Neither is it a large highly-organised lobbying association. It is a loose collection of parents, teachers, governors, grandparents and other senior citizens from across Bedford Borough. We have no funding. No bureaucratic machinery. No voice – apart from this blog of course.

It started over a glass of wine between two very concerned parents who had protested in 2006 at the potential change but hadn’t really thought we’d win then either. We decided that we’d fight this because we believed in the arguments, to provide an opposition and to represent the people who we knew were on our side but didn’t want to get involved.

We were shocked at how much support we immediately received

This support is authentic. It isn’t contrived. It isn’t a bunch of professional malcontents.

When we talk to groups of people, naturally 50-75% of people stop, smile and support us (why not read Sally and Sue’s comments to Day 86 about petitioning in Bedford Town Centre last Saturday). Another 10-25% of people can be won round with the arguments against change fairly easily. Everyone recognises the problems with two-tier, except a small group of influential people who are trying to push through this damaging change.

Fortunately, we now have a Full Council vote on this issue, where every councillor can make their vote count, and take the responsibility for saving Bedford’s education system from disarray. In Northampton when the vote was for change, none of the councillors there believed they were doing anything that would damage a child’s education. It just happened that way – remember, they have the most schools in special measures or on notices to improve of any authority in the country.

Our campaign to save three tier education is authentic; it is the belief of the majority of ordinary people; we ask councillors to listen to the voice that represents those people.

You can help by phoning the councillors to let them know your opinion.


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