Labour councillors are dismayed that recommendations on the Raising the Bar report have been accepted at today’s Full County Council meeting despite concerns over the lack of consultation and the proposed divestment of services.
The Raising the Bar report commissioned by Suffolk County Council (SCC) is supposed to ensure that educational attainment across Suffolk is improved and that there is a plan to be able to roll the process of improvement out across the county.
Labour Group spokesperson for Education, Skills and Young People Councillor Sonia Barker praised the overall objectives of the Raising the Bar saying; ‘We all want our children to have the best education possible. They only get one chance, this is not a practice run and whilst the sentiment of Raising the Bar is right, the RSA report falls some way short of its overall objectives.’
Cllr Barker continued, ‘It is clear from the report that not enough was done to consult with the three groups with most contact with the Raising the Bar initiative, parents, teachers and the pupils. It seems these are the most obvious groups to consult with and this fundamental gap in the report leaves me thinking what else is missing.
Other concerns raised about the project included the lack of accountability of SCC to the electorate and Councillors.
Cllr Barker added, ‘A separate divested group has already been set up to deliver the changes identified in Raiding the Bar. The lack of accountability that the council has over the way this group is managed is very worrying.’
She added, ‘It is interesting that after the Child Poverty Action Group release a report that states there are over 21 000 children in Suffolk who live in poverty there is very little mention of how we ‘Raise the Bar’ for these children. We need to make sure no child is left behind and we must not forget that poverty is the single biggest indicator of educational attainment’
Councillor Sonia Barker (Lab): Spokesperson for Education, Skills and Young People
mobile: 07714 598046
Notes to Editors:
Child Poverty Action Group: Local authorities and child poverty: balancing threats and opportunities
http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/cpag-publishes-cost-child-poverty-every-local-authority-and-constituency Accessed 18/09/2013