Day 146 – Suffolk Now Failing

Suffolk is in the middle of a change from two-tier to three-tier, based on the availability of BSF funding. Unfortunately, as reported on this blog on Day 139, half of the project has been put on hold over concerns that money will not be available post-2011.

In the meantime, teachers have left in droves from middle schools due to close and from an education system in the process of chaotic change.

Yesterday, the DCSF announced that expert advisors are being sent to Suffolk to prepare a progress review on results.

To interpret that in plain English, Suffolk is failing to provide a satisfactory education for many of its children. Just like Northampton and Milton Keynes did shortly after they announced their change.

Just like Bedford Borough will in the future should we attempt this unwise and underfunded change to a primary-secondary schools structure.


8 Responses to Day 146 – Suffolk Now Failing

  1. Baldrick says:

    When you dig a little deeper you find out that of the three schools that are causing most concern, 2 of them are in 2-tier parts of Suffolk and the 3-tier one has one of the highest deprivation rates in the entire country.

    Added to that the education portfolio holder in Suffolk says this on the same day as the advisors are sent into their 2 tier failing schools:

    “It’s been proved that children who attend middle schools achieve worse exam results than those in the two-tier system.” Mr Newman said. This was in the context of only putting the changes on hold in Suffolk because of the financial crisis – those with sense want the idea scrapped to give some stability to the area.

    Has it really Mr Newman? That’s why none of the areas like Bury St. Edmunds or Haverhill etc. etc. have got advisers going into them presumably. It all sounds horribly familiar! To turn back now for them would look like they were wrong all along – and we wouldn’t want that now would we!

  2. JamesD says:

    At least in Bedford Borough we now have the chance to vote in a Mayor who will avoid the education and financial disaster of a school structure change. Mr Newman of Suffolk sounds just like the pro 2-tier protagonists of the Bedford education elite who continue to ignore all of the evidence and the wishes of so many parents.

  3. bobby says:

    I agree and it’s now absolutely key that Mayoral candidates give us a straight answer on this debate.

    I hear the new Tory candidate Parvez – and the Independents Tony Hare and Apu Bachi have both come out with a clear position of 3-tier. Good for them – clear leadership…

    Can we take Dave Hodgsons silence to mean he supports this ludicrous idea to embark on a whole system change to 2-tier with all the same disastrous consequences as Suffolk?? Despite my previous voting preferences – I for one will definitely not be voting liberal!

  4. Ed Thomas says:

    Please could SMS confirm Apu Bagchi’s position, is Bobby right? From reading his profile in the Times and Citizen, it is more of a family tree than a manifesto! As well as Suffolk, why are Kent and Leeds failing? Surely they have the utopian two-tier system, as recommended by the grey suits!!


  5. Baldrick says:

    …and let’s not forget Ed, that until 1992 Leeds had a three tier system, shortly afterwards had education removed from the local authority control because the standards plummeted. Finally metamorphosed into ‘Education Leeds’ and now finds itself in a not dissimilar position with advisers moving in again.

    …and that’s progress and raised standards!

  6. PeterP says:

    The prime mover in the Suffolk reorganisation (appointed just before the Tories took over in 2005) was the head of CYP, Rosalind Turner. Having wreaked havoc in Suffolk, in May this year she went to be Managing Director for Children, Families and Education in – KENT! Probably just an unlucky coincidence.

    The whole experience in Suffolk has been a case-study in lies, duplicity and false information, on the part of councillors and council staff.

    Space won’t allow a discussion of this here, but anyone with time to spare to go through the reports from various authorities proposing 2-tier will find the same data and phrases repeated ad nauseam from IoW to Poole to Northumberland i.e. if a fallacy is repeated often enough it becomes fact. The hoary old chestnut trotted out by the “poisoned chalice holder” Cllr. Newman recently is that “there aren’t enough middle school trained teachers available” – pure nonsense, of course.

  7. KDev says:

    What comes out continually is that you destroy a stable education structure at your peril. If you have problems fix what you have without totally disrupting a generation of children. I fail to understand those who hold the “belief” that wreaking our fast improving, under funded 3-tier system with an even more under funded 2-tier system will lead to an improvement.
    It is a great sadness that 2 of the major political party’s candidates are both so pro 2-tier.

  8. JamesD says:

    PeterP says: “The whole experience in Suffolk has been a case study in lies, duplicity and false information on the part of councillors and council staff”
    These blogs have contained the same message from experiences in many LA that have forced through a change to 2-tier. There seem to be themes running out of all of the examples of education disaster quoted:
    For council officers:
    Managing large scale projects looks good on the CV as long as you get out before it all goes wrong.
    Buy in consultants that will get the answer you have preordained.
    For elected councillors:
    Not their fault they have under-funded and ignored education in their County/ Borough/ Unitary until the results plunge – it’s the fault of the structure.
    Authoritarian management by the politicians – I have my “belief” and no evidence will ever stop me from forcing my views through.
    In Bedford Borough the false gleam of BSF gold has brought out the worst. Every Upper School fighting to maximise its own gain, forgetting the whole system means the needs of children from 0 to 19 years. Lower school heads selfishly looking only at their own needs or frightened of closure if they don’t conform.

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