Sunday, 27 September 2009

Statement Regarding St. John's C.E. Infants School

Medway Council's policy framework requires the Council's Cabinet "to shape the future of Medway schools in line with school organisation principles".

Rose Collinson, the Council's education director, assured the Cabinet on 17 September, that one of those school organisation principles was that:

"The number of transition points will be reduced wherever possible within the phases of primary and secondary education. In the primary phase this means creating schools for pupils aged 3-11 and removing transitions for pupils midway through the foundation stage and between separate provisions for Key Stages 1 and 2".

She then used that principle as a basis for advising Cabinet that St. Peter's and St. John's schools should close as they are small infant schools that cannot provide education from 3-11 (ignoring the rather more important points that they achieve significantly better than average results and only had a surplus places issue in respect of a single year's intake).

On Thursday at an Overview and Scrutiny meeting my sustained questioning led Rose Collinson to admit that she had misled Cabinet with that statement. What she claimed was a school organisation principle was not.

The relevant school organisation principle supports only amalgamation of infant and junior schools, not closure of infant schools, or closure of schools that cannot offer nursery education.

Rather than using the school organisation principles to make recommendations to Cabinet on closures, as required by the policy framework, officers relied on something from a different document and told Cabinet that it was one of the school organisation principles when this was not true.

I asked the Council's head legal officer to flag the problem to Cabinet before they decided on closures. She refused to do so.

Overview and Scrutiny have therefore sent the closure of St. John's back to Cabinet to reconsider as the decision was not taken, as required, on the basis of the school organisation principles.



Anonymous said...


As a 'proven tax cutter' it is disgusting that the simple fact that 2 failings schools you feel should remain open. These schools are small, with poor results. As a proven tax cutter your stance is simply wrong on this issue.

Anonymous said...

for your information anonymous st johns infant school is not a failing school. it has continuesously good ofsted and achieves high standards. i am pleased to hear that cllr reckless agress that there isnt anything wrong with the school and he knows this because he has looked at information and facts and figures, unlike some. i was surprised when i read this statement but was pleased to see that some councilors are listening to what is true and not the lies

Miss J Dorrell said...

Im so sorry you feel you have to remain anonymous. Are we including Ridge Meadow in this proposal, as we are also a small community school, i have personally been to the surrounding schools that they wish to send our children too, and none of the schools have any places left, i dont drive so where am i supposed to put my daughter, but then again it doesnt really seem to matter, it has already been proved Rose Collinson has lied over figures, at every cabinet meeting i have attended not once did Les Wicks give a straight answer, or an answer full stop come to think of it! We all know that they want Ridge Meadow for the land its set on, pure and simple and it seems they are able to do what they wish how they wish just to get their own way, my daughters are being brought up with values.... Simple things to start with.. Politeness, caring, sharing and most of all honesty, it seems a few cabinet members could do with going back to the start and remembering their values. I like many others strongly disagree with the closures, but than you knew we would do, people do not like being lied to, which is what is happening, but.... Its olt too late, people will respect you more for holding your hands up and admitting you were wrong than carrying on your proposals. Who knows you may even gain a few votes back.... Its not too late you know.......

St Johns Parent said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
St Johns Parent said...

I'm not a Tory supporter but I have to admit that you have come out of this whole fiasco with at least a bit of respect from me, unlike the majority of councillors both Tory and Labour. Les Wicks should annunce his immediate resignation after this fiasco as should Rose Collinson and Simon Trotter. I'd also like to see the back of all of the Labour councillors who chose to use our children (MY CHILD!!!!) as political footballs. I have complete contempt for all of them. For the various Tory councillors who chose to shut down our school despite the evidence against closure, for the council officers who made the recommendations in the first place, and for the Labour members who were quite frankly like flies around ****. Shame on all of them. And a begrudging thanks to Mr Reckless for actually sticking up for our school even though I'm sure it did him no favours amongst the Tory upper echelons whom he opposed.

Angie Burdett said...

No wonder Anonymous left their comment anonymously. Quite clearly you don't know the facts of this case at all. St John's DOES NOT achieve poor results. Infact, are last three OFSTED's prove beyond all reasonable doubt that we are a "GOOD" school. St John's is being closed because Rose Collinson (a spineless, overpaid cow) has MISLED Medway Council.

As a parent of a child currently in Year 1 at St John's I was absolutely heartbroken at the Council's decision on Tuesday night. What makes the entire matter worse is that they are basing their decision on the utterly flawed facts and figures supplied by Rose Collinson. Rose Collinson insists there are plenty of school places for our 53 pupils. Really Rose? How funny that we, the parents, and Mrs Keating, the Head Teacher at St John's have personally telephoned all the neighbouring schools and have not found that to be the case. Or may be Rose Collinson is from the future, a future where teleportation systems are available to us ... so we can beam ourselves from one infant school to another junior school in two different parts of Medway while towing toddlers and prams behind us!!! We have gone into the last two council meetings and supplied the Councillors with "REAL" facts and "REAL" figures and yet, once again they have been ignored. Two Councillors even admitted that they have never read the evidence we have presented to them and that the council are only basing their decision on the rubbish Ms Collinson is spouting!!! What do we have to do to make the Council hear us??? If we have to take over the school and chain ourselves to the railings ... be SURE ... we WILL.