Tonight councillors will vote on the proposals to change our schools system. Some of them have read the report and found the holes in the educational and financial arguments. All of them are aware of the strength of opinion of parents against change.
What is clear now is that councillors do not need to support three tier education to vote against this proposal – they are voting for or against this particular implementation plan.
Where the plan fails desperately to convince is on primary finance. As the public sector moves towards times of austerity, we are going to spend every last penny from education budgets on ideological change rather than teaching and learning. The irony is that even then we won’t have sufficient money to effect the change successfully.
We know what happens when underfunded change occurs – the number of underperforming schools in Northampton demonstrates this very clearly.
We know that the Conservative administration of Suffolk County Council is so worried that BSF funding will be reduced or scrapped after the next election that they have stopped in the middle of their change from three-tier to two-tier.
We also know that the vote tonight will be very close, so close that it may be decided on the casting vote.
We can only hope that sufficient councillors have decided that the report cannot be implemented without creating financial chaos in Bedford Borough’s schools.