Day 169 – And the winner is…

Sometime today, the new Mayor will be elected. Whoever that may be, they deserve congratulations for winning what might turn out to be a close race, and also every good fortune in their new position of responsibility – and to balance the books in Bedford Borough they are certainly going to need a lot of fortune !

The School Organisation Review will be the first serious policy decision over which the new Mayor has influence. We can only hope that he (or she) uses their newfound influence to stop this educationally disruptive and financially ruinous decision.

On Monday this blog will return to the educational and financial arguments against change – as the serious work to Save Bedford’s Schools restarts in earnest.

29 Responses to Day 169 – And the winner is…

  1. Ed Thomas says:

    Struggling with the concept to congratulate whoever wins!
    Am I the only one completely fed up of how devious Dave Hodgson has misled the voting public? Only when Dave was put on the spot i.e. Politics show or Wootton’s mayoral debate did he make his commitment to two-tier clear. However, all his leaflets and pamphlets, which went through the voters letterboxes, were very ambiguous just claiming he wants a high standard of education in Bedford Borough!
    Could Dave, if he is reading this, explain to me why he only mentioned the Bedford Academy / John Bunyan Upper School in his mantra on TV or public meetings? Does he know there are many other upper schools in Bedford Borough? Putting 2 and the Beds on Sunday together, it appears he will be a selfish Mayor who only cares for the success of the academy, his governor’s role and the sponsors £27 million, but is quite happy for the rest of the schools and Bedford Borough to turn into a construction and financial mess! Or I could be wrong; he will be a weak mayor, who is easily controlled by outside influences!
    PS Dave and James Valentine re: Wootton , if there is a problem of teacher recruitment in Bedfordshire, it is because of the destablising environment and uncertainly the 2006 and 2009 consultations have caused. It doesn’t take an academy student to come up with this answer!
    Ed (an ex and never again Lib Dem voter, plus a little bitter!)

  2. Ed Thomas says:

    Just heard poll turnout according to Beds on Sunday, just over 30% (35,807)- A poor turnout for a Mayor, who has so much power!


  3. Martin Hamilton says:

    Well – back to the national debate and the Cambridge Primary Review is lead story. Well here’s an idea – perhaps the lower schools would not need to expand at all in Bedfordshire which would save all that money – just start children at school two years later. Not everyone agrees however, but then despite what some might say the educational establishment is not entirely homogeneous and the pendulum may well be swinging again. Anyway if startimng school 2 years later is rejected what about another recommendation from the review which says – direct quote here from briefing document:

    “Expertise for entitlement: re-thinking school staffing. The report commends recent increases in the
    numbers of teachers and teaching assistants (TAs), and efforts to give primary teachers status, incentives and support. But there is a historic and growing mismatch between the tasks primary schools are required to undertake and the professional resources available to them. TAs are no substitute for teachers, or for the expertise which a modern curriculum requires. At issue is the viability of a system which continues to treat the generalist class teacher role as the default. The report calls for a full review of primary school staffing which properly assesses the nature of the expertise which a modern primary education requires,taking account of the full diversity of schools’ work. The report particularly underlines the importance of teachers’ domain or subject knowledge – the point at which the class teacher system is most vulnerable – because research shows that it is the teacher’s depth of engagement with what is to be taught, allied to skill in providing feedback on learning, that separates expert teachers from the rest. It argues for training
    and resources which enable schools to mix the undeniably important role of class teacher with those of semi-specialist and specialist, so that every school can meet the Review’s definition of educational
    entitlement as access to the highest possible standards of teaching in all curriculum domains, regardless of how much or how little time is allocated to them.”

    That sound’s to me like a role that could be admirably executed by a middle school which provides a gentle transition between class teaching and specialist teaching.

    It also seems to agree with the Rose report? (which i haven’t read.)

  4. DB says:

    None of the candidates won 50 per cent of the votes in the first count for the next Mayor of Bedford.

    This means that now the second choice votes will be counted.

    The number of votes for each candidate counted in the first round are:

    Conservative – Parvez Akhtar 9,105
    Liberal Democrats – Dave Hodgson 9,428
    Independent – Apu Bagchi 7,631
    Independent – Tony Hare 4,316
    Labour – James Valentine 3,482
    Green Party – Eve Robinson Morley 1,183

  5. Baldrick says:

    Well if DH does get it based on first choices I would hardly call 25% of the actual vote and less that 10% of the potential voting public of the borough a ringing endorsement for changing the system!

    19 months Dave! 19 months!

  6. Fred Bagnall says:

    So there is only one issue to vote on until Dave Hodgson wins!
    Let’s hope the SMS arguments are brushing up nicely.

    • JamesD says:

      So there were 21,052 votes for candidates supporting 3-tier schooling and only 12,910 supporting 2-tier. 62% support for retaining 3-tier.

    • KDev says:

      You consistently miss the point:
      2-tier has opinion, belief and arguments.
      3-tier has evidence, evidence, and evidence.
      SMS claimed about 2/3 supported retention and I see that JamesD has already shown that his remained true in the Mayoral election.

      • Fred Bagnall says:

        I have never said the arguments from either side were, to me, overwhelming, especially the educational ones. I know you differ.

        The election results probably bear reasonable resemblance to the council elections and are little to do with 2/3-tier public opinion. Surely Parvez Akhtar should have received more second preference votes as one of two likely pro-2-tier candidates if that was voters sole concern.

      • KDev says:

        The problem with this partial single transferable vote system is that one never knows where all the 2nd votes come from and why. Once party loyalty is given in first votes then the second will be often more to stop a particular candidate. So the first votes may be better if not perfect indicator. We could have a referendum on a single issue to sort it out. My biggest disappointment is the 31% turn out.

      • KDev says:

        If you had read my previous and numerous posts you would have understood my position. I do not hold that 3-tier education is better than 2-tier. There is massive independent evidence to show that in England there is no difference in attainment between school structures that use either system. There is massive evidence to show that the transition between systems leads to educational and financial disaster. In the case of Bedford there is very strong analytical evidence linking comparative GCSE attainment with annual education spending per pupil. For me every child matters, there is no acceptable collateral damage during the change over. Improve what we have, do not destroy a stable system are measures that have overwhelming evidence to support them.

  7. DB says:

    Parvez Akhtar 11,543
    Dave Hodgson 13, 555

  8. savemiddleschools says:

    Oh well, maybe he’ll see reason on this issue now…hope springs eternal…

    • KDev says:

      Even with Dave Hodgson as Mayor the position for retaining 3-tier has improved. If he stays “honest” at least it will be a full council decision and all of those councillors will be aware of 19 months to go and 2/3 voter support.

  9. Bobby says:

    Gutted. Our kids are doomed…. And let’s face it there is also little chance with the Western bypass – who will do a liberal mayor any favours in Whitehall

  10. William says:

    A sad day for Bedford!

  11. Ed Thomas says:

    Forget the schools debate for one moment. The turnout for this election is just embarrassing. The question which needs to consulted is, does Bedford Borough want an elected Mayor? It sounds like the silent majority want a new structure which they believe in! Does the size of a Wigan football crowd really give anyone a true mandate? The size of turnout does not equate to the powers given to one person. Like Bobby, will devious Dave have any influence over the purse strings in Whitehall?
    Has anyone got a ticket for Dave’s celebration bash at the Academy???

    Ed (Still very bitter!)

    • William says:

      To be honest Ed a general election only gets 40% turnout in Bedford.

      The other concerning thing was the 600+ spoilt ballots – obviously the 1st and 2nd choice confused many a person!

      I think the only chuckle of the day was the labour chap leaving before the declaration (be ashamed Mr Valentine for your childish attitude!)

      Did we all notice our fav Lib Dem trying to look happy at the back of the Champagne celebration? – Good on you Mr H,

      • JamesD says:

        I always believed that we should have had a referendum on an “Elected Mayor” or a Mayoral election when we went to a Unitary Authority. The change in the power of the Mayor from District Council to Unitary should have been accompanied by the people of Bedford having their say on the system.
        Mr H was genuinely delighted and there were several other prominent Lib Dem councillors who support 3-tier celebrating their victory in the TV clip.
        The current betting is that the Borough will last less than 5 years if we go 2-tier and 10 years if they avoid bankruptcy by staying 3-tier. Then it will be back to Beds CC.

  12. I V Dzhugashvili says:

    What more can I add to your sad hopes in democracy. The elite have the influence, they have the organs of propaganda, they control the apparatchiks and the “useful fools” will look away and not bother to vote.

  13. River Song says:

    As I feared, the vote for a three tier option was split. Agree with Ed, I am bitterly disappointed.

  14. Paul Stonebridge says:

    In my earlier posts, I said that the contest was between Parvez and Hodgson and that a vote for any other 3 tier candidate would risk letting the Lib Dems in and that is exactly what happened. All first choice Bagchi votes from 3 tier supporters were wasted and the 2nd preference votes were heavily in favour of Hodgson. Bitterly disappointing for Bedford and for the 3 tier case. Since the June elections, we now have a situation where the Lib Dems are the largest party on the Council and there is now a Liberal Mayor. The job of saving Middle Schools just got harder.

    • KDev says:

      With such a low turn out it was the “Party Faithful” that swung it. Some Conservatives did not like the Primary selection and avoided voting for Parvez and others to the left of centre would use their 2nd vote to stop any Conservative winning. Disappointing result in that we have to continue the struggle to protect our children’s education. However,we do have the promise of a full Council decision and a free vote for the Lib Dem councillors. The 3-tier case is still in a much better position than with the previous Mayor.

  15. A.Voter says:

    I agree. At least we don’t have a Mayor threatening to use conflict resolution procedures to push through the change to 2-tier in the event of a full council vote against. There is a glimmer of hope for democracy in Bedford but it’s early days yet.
    I’ll certainly be making sure my local Councillor knows how I feel on this vitally important issue.

  16. Baldrick says:

    Interesting that one of the proposals outlined in the new Cambridge review is:

    Protect rural schools and middle schools against cost-cutting closure.

    Not seen the full report yet but it will be interesting to see the full explanation of this – perhaps it might be linked to unnecessary disruption, lack of educational case and need for more specialist teaching in years 5 and 6.

    Dare Mr Hodgson disagree with the experts?

  17. JamesD says:

    Unfortunately we now have a new Mayor who so far has ignored the evidence and has stuck to his “What the sponsors think is best for my new Academy is best for the Borough” (paraphrasing). How he and his executive are going to deal with a budget that is already estimated to increase our Council Tax by 11½% I do not understand. They must now have regard for evidence rather than just opinion.
    The Liberal Democrats are targeting the Bedford and Kempston constituency in the next General Election. With a huge hike in Council Tax or massive reduction in services this Mayor could let Patrick Hall MP off the hook! Unless of course the local Conservative Association stop fighting each other and concentrate on winning.

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