Following further revelations about the quality of education in Suffolk, Labour councillors on the County Council today submitted a motion of no confidence in the Conservative administration’s ability to deliver much needed improvements.
The motion comes as the result of a number of high profile failures of education in Suffolk.
- condemnation from Ofsted following their targeted inspections of Suffolk Primary schools.
- the shocking performance of schools attainment in Suffolk shown by the league tables.
- the loss of control of the Bury SOR process.
- the poor rating given to SCC on the quality of local authority arrangements for the protection of children.
- the criticisms from SCCs own education scrutiny committee about the Education other than at School (EOTAS) provision.
- the recent damning report from Ofsted in its report into school improvement which included further criticism of the Raising the Bar programme.
Labour councillors have no confidence that the current administration have the ability, or the will, to improve the whole of education in Suffolk and something radical must be done in order to ensure improvement is instigated.
The motion will be proposed by Labour Group leader Cllr Sandy Martin who said; “The decision to bring a motion of no confidence is not one that is taken lightly, but this issue is so serious and Suffolk’s education system has deteriorated over such a long period that this course of action is needed.”
He added; “Education in Suffolk is failing in so many areas, that the Council must radically overhaul its whole political management and put in the resources that are needed. Children only get one chance at their education – for them, this is not a trial run. Decisive action has to be taken now to improve their life chances. This administration has run education into the ground over the last 13 years and this has to stop now.”
Ofsted point out that schools need to know that a well-staffed professional School Improvement Service will be available to assist them in raising the levels of teaching and learning wherever necessary. This service has been cut each year in order to find budget savings. The Labour amendment to the county budget for the coming year calling on a further £500,000 for the School Improvement Service was voted down by the Conservative Councillors.
Parents also need to know that there is a well-staffed Educational Welfare Officer (EWO) service that will ensure that their children are safely at school – that service has also been cut, and amalgamated with other responsibilities. Labour’s budget amendment also called for an enhancement of the EWO service.
“Other Councils have been able to intervene in a timely way when schools have needed help” said Cllr Martin, “but Ofsted has slammed Suffolk for being incapable of doing this. And as for the lack of Welfare Officers – well, you can’t educate a child to a decent standard if they are not even in school!”
The motion will be debated at the full County Council meeting on the 20th March.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The full text of the motion reads
‘In the light of the recent damning OFSTED reports, this Council has no confidence in the current political leadership of education in Suffolk, and calls on the administration to radically restructure its political oversight of education and to make available sufficient resources to drive improvement.’