Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Garth parents deserve better than this

Following the PR debacle over Garth Special School, I've made the following statement to the Spalding Guardian, calling on Cllr Patricia Bradwell to come clean with parents and staff:

“I hoped that Cllr Mrs Bradwell and the rest of the leadership at Lincolnshire County Council had learned lessons from the disgraceful chaos created last year when a shock hit-list of infant and junior schools earmarked for merger was leaked.

“Teachers, parents and community leaders were treated with contempt - at least one highly regarded head teacher quit in disgust - and elected members who made reasoned arguments against ill-thought out school closures were labelled rebel-rousers.

“When I heard concerns of Garth School parents, and Cllr Mrs Bradwell’s response in the Guardian, I thought ‘oh no, here we go again’.

“Sadly, Garth parents are right to be worried by the uncertainty fuelled by Cllr Mrs Bradwell’s behaviour.

“At Spalding Goodfellows School a couple of years ago, within weeks of a rumour starting that the school was to close, most parents children found other schools for their children, making the decision to close easy for the county council.

“But in Garth's case, the alternatives are much more limited and letting rumours fester on unchecked for another month is not acceptable.

“Cllr Mrs Bradwell needs to come clean now, face the parents and staff at Garth School without further delay and tell them exactly what is going on.

“She needs to make a full and frank statement to the Spalding Guardian now, so the whole community can know the truth.

“When you make decisions affecting the future of the most vulnerable children, parents and teachers deserve openness and honesty, not off-the-record secret chats with the press excluded.

“Our county council needs to make huge strides forward to repair the damage of the Speechley/Croft era. Treating council taxpayers with breath-taking arrogance does nothing to restore confidence and trust.”

Cllr Phil Dilks, Deeping St James (Lab), Shadow Executive Member for Children's Services on Lincolnshire County Council.

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