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Friday, 03 May 2013 21:42

Mike Whiting: Kent Cabinet Member for Education

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Mike Whiting is the biggest Conservative casualty in yesterday's election for the Kent County Council, losing his seat for Swale Central. Politics apart, I believe he will be sorely missed and Kent school children will be the losers by his going.  Mike only became a County Councillor at the last election in 2009, and when he was appointed Deputy Cabinet Member and then Cabinet Member for Education in short succession, both in 2011, I feared that his lack of education experience would be a setback. However, he mastered his brief rapidly and in the last 12 months we have seen many initiatives that are down to his drive that have improved the quality of education for our children.

The shortage of places in both primary and secondary schools last year was a debacle, but was minimised for 2013 admissions through a robust approach to creating additional places .......

There were and remain aspects of both expansions that I dislike, but the bottom line is that many new places have been created in the two sectors and far fewer Kent young people are without a school of their choice. Compare this with reports of problems from other parts of the country. 

The 2011 Kent primary school SAT results and OFSTED inspection outcomes were the continuation of an embarrassingly bad set of performances from the sector as a whole over a lengthy period.  KCC has been ruthless in forcing up standards, and too many headteachers have lost their jobs, often after many years of loyal service to the profession, but once again 2012 has seen a great leap forward in both measures, as recorded in the pages of this website.

A personal interest of mine is addressed through the recent consultation on Special Education Needs provision in Kent, containing many excellent proposals.

Some may argue that much of this can be attributed to the new Director of Education, Patrick Leeson, but Mike Whiting appointed him and has clearly backed and made possible many of the excellent initiatives he has introduced. I have certainly had my own disagreements with Mike Whiting, and there is still much to be done, but there is no doubt he is going to be a hard act to follow and I am sorry this excellent partnership has been broken. Thanks, Mike, for all you have done for Kent children.

Read 34519 times Last modified on Saturday, 04 May 2013 08:23

1 comment

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 08 May 2013 17:08 posted by tony drew

    Peter , as a campaigner to keep walmer science college school open i am happy to see mr whiting go
    It is not the closing of the school that was the disappointing issue .. it was the manner that a TORY majority at KCC steam rolled this through with total disregard to public opinion , a bdisregard of the evidence and disregard of alternate solutions. the process was very undemocratic and im glad the public have unseated him and many alike

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