Day 139 – Chaos in Suffolk

Yesterday in Suffolk, their plans to abolish middle schools were thrown into chaos as half the project was put on hold over concerns about BSF funding post-2011. The full article is here.

Graham Newman, the portfolio holder for children’s services said: “Because the government cannot give us any certainty about levels of funding for future years, we feel that as a prudent and sensible council we have to reconsider the timeline for the remainder of the review. Until we have more clarity on the future financial position, it would be irresponsible for us to make promises on what happens next and when.”

Andrew Stringer, the Green Party councillor who has been one of the leading figures in the fight to retain middle schools, said education in the Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket areas was now facing a crisis.

“We are left with the worst of all possible worlds – an exodus of teachers has already begun because of the changes, which means our children are facing the prospect of falling education standards.

“Two years’ ago, we warned the county council not to proceed until it has a cast iron assurance that the money would be there to pay for it. We feared we were being led down a blind alley and, sadly, we have been proved right,” said Mr Stringer.

The political and educational establishment has already destabilised our schools by trying to influence popular opinion by indicating that this is a “done deal”.

Isn’t it time we voted in a Mayor who believed in stability rather than chaos, incremental change by targeting resources where they are needed rather than massive disruption, visions based on solid reality rather than the fantasy of the Emperor’s new clothes.

6 Responses to Day 139 – Chaos in Suffolk

  1. KDev says:

    Another Council joins the 100% failure list. No doubt Suffolk’s Education Officers and Politicians said that they were different / better than everyone else who had forced through the changes in structure and that they would succeed in spite of all of the evidence. The casualties are always a generation of children whose life chances are permanently and, in most cases, irrevocably damaged.
    In Bedford we have a whole hierarchy of Education Officers selected for their commitment to change to 2-tier. So far we have a Liberal-Democrat mayoral candidate who has a long history of support for the change to 2-tier, but who is now very silent on the matter. With 13 councillors and a Mayor the Liberal-Democrats will be able to force through anything the future Mayor wishes.
    I wish that I could be, in the slightest, more optimistic about the future education of our children and grandchildren.

    • Michael Headley says:

      To avoid any doubt I can clarify that whatever the Mayoral result Lib Dem councillors will have a free vote on this issue and not be whipped.

  2. I V Dzhugashvili says:

    Do I understand KDev – in a Council of 36 you only need 13 votes to rule? “All are equal but some more equal than others”.
    If they are well programmed the apparatchiks will have their way in the end.

  3. bobby says:

    I have a strong desire to shout : –


    And the officers of BBC would take us into the same mess of Marie Celeste schools and underfunded change…

    Lets hope the new Mayor bashes heads together and takes control of Borough Hall, and gets on with some sensible policies that will make Bedford a better place to live and work.

    Oh and WHERE IS THE CONSULTATION DOCUMENT? I don’t see why they cant publish it! Is it because it shows the overwhealming support for RETENTION of 3-tier… and that only a small number who stand to get massive pay rises themselves want this change??

  4. Martin Hamilton says:

    Well, as I read in the FT today that “Brown’s talk of higher spending hides huge cuts” and it turns out the higher spending is on debt interest repayments and social security costs I doubt if there are many people left who in their heart of hearts believe in promises of BSF funding remaining unscathed. However, we’re unlikely to get any real clarity until after the general election.

    Meanwhile the same in microcosm is going to happen at Borough Hall. Lower receipts, more costs = cuts not grand unfunded projects.

    So the risk of the former borough’s plan goes up and up. Frankly they (the relevant officers) need to be working hard on Plan B now or the new mayor will be struggling to justify their retention.

  5. SL says:

    Going back to Michael Headley’s comment….that’s great news, but what will your mayoral candidate be voting????
    He hasn’t answered my email yet!

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