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Thursday, 31 January 2013 23:24

Medway Council: no comment needed

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Dan Bloom of the The Medway Messenger has reported on an education debate which took place in a Medway Council full meeting on 24th January. According to this, the Lead Member for Education, Councillor Les Wicks maintained that Medway's exam results were good, surely the only person in the whole of Medway who could think this. You will find on this site, clear evidence of many cases of Medway's inadequacy, and the washing of hands by councillors and officials of their responsibility. For example (1), (2), (3), and (4), although a search for 'Medway' on the site will find others.  

The article reads in full..........


MEDWAY’S former schools boss resigned due to the “incompetence” of a leading councillor, it was claimed. The first full council meeting since Medway’s Year 6 results were named the worst in England saw an angry debate on primary school standards. Just over a quarter (28%) of Medway’s pupils are not meeting the floor standard - the Towns’ best results but still the worst in the country. Thursday’s meeting focused heavily on schools portfolio holder Cllr Les Wicks (Con), who refused calls to resign himself. Labour group leader Cllr Vince Maple said Cllr Wicks, who said meeting parents “wouldn’t contribute a great deal” and he couldn’t possibly visit more than 80 primary schools, had a “bunker mentality”. The director of adult and children’s services Rose Collinson stepped down in July after more than decade of service. The council declined to say why she left. Cllr Isaac Igwe (Lab) told Cllr Wicks: “We know very well that the director resigned because of your incompetence. We know very well that Medway residents are very angry with what you are doing. “I am moved to ask you to resign your post.” Cllr Wicks, who did not attend a crisis meeting with MPs Tracey Crouch and Mark Reckless earlier this month, faced a barrage of comments as schools were brought up no less than five times. Cllr Wicks said: “I have listened to these comments. Those that matter I take notice of; those which are just unpleasant I ignore.” He said the league tables were “not a position anyone’s trying to be in” but maintained Medway’s results overall were good. Improvement work was in place, he said, but it was the job of a head teacher - not a politician - to turn schools around. Cllr Glyn Griffiths (Lab) said: “If Cllr Wicks could apply a little humility in light of his failings then we might make some progress in the council chamber.” But Cllr Kelly Tolhurst (Con) said changes had to be given time. She added: “If a school doesn’t want the School Improvement Board to go in and work with them there’s very little we can do to influence that. “To say the local council isn’t doing enough is really quite ridiculous.”

In reply to another concern expressed in the Messengeer, Councillor Wicks said: “The real problem is the leadership that comes from the head, the senior management team and the governing body. Even with a large number of improvement officers we still had some areas of which were difficult to make improvements in.” My central question is "if the responsibility for these failings is wholly down to schools and not politicians, what is the point of the latter?".  Medway is now seeing and encouraging wholescale selling off of primary schools to academy chains to remove any vestige of responsibility for them, implicitly acknowledging that responsibility, but if this is the case, why do we actually need officers except to discharge statutory repsonsibilities? 
Read 25019 times Last modified on Saturday, 27 April 2013 20:06

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