Saturday, 27 September 2008

Longton High Leaders Hit Back!

There has been quite a debate raging on the Sentinel website. It as emerged out of a letter to the newspaper by BNP activist T Cope from Tunstall. It has attracted a lot of responses from a number of posters. One of the posters is Councilor Joy Garner who is also the Leader of the Labour Group on the Council. Obviously Joy is entitled to her say and i fully endorse all local politicians using the Sentinel and pitsnpots to get their views over to us the electorate. We here on this blog have contacted all councilors and urged them to read and contribute to this blog as we believe it will promote good debate. Joy has opposed the BNP and has refuted their claims that there was trouble at the anti-BNP rally held at Central Forest Park last Saturday. In a speech to their followers local BNP leader Alby Walker had claimed that the UAF had "kicked of against the police".
pitsnpots were at neither so we can't comment on whether there was trouble or not. We have several issues with the local Labour party as we believe it is wrong that their councilors have been effectively gagged from speaking out against the Elected Mayor even though privately a number of their councilors have told us that they are not in support of the Mayor.
In a post on the T Cope letter I left a post asking Joy Garner to come out and state her intentions for the future as i had been told by a source that it was possible that she would seek the Labour nomination for the post of Elected Mayor should the city decide it wants to keep this system or, she would be the Labour leader if the city prefers that system. I got this response:
Mr Walley.I think you should take some English Comprehension lessons from the excellent teachers at Longton.The way you missundstood me, that there is no gag - merely common sense, and to keep to the issues. And apologise profusely to the Head of Longton High, because - and I quote you - "and yes, in 2001 particularly they did stir up some tensions with a few ill thought out and factually incorrect leaflets at Longton HS. Fact is we have a BNP Councillor now as Governor" (info - M.Coleman, chair of Education scrutiny com).A few leaflets - the police were there daily. They caused riots amongst the children, some carried knives for 'protection'. And its that, not the schools teaching, that is now bringing forward its closure. The head and teachers have always had my support, They hit lows and picked themselves up. With only around 40 pupils a year now applying to attend - it can not be viable. You are the Vice Chair of Governors there. You should know better than this.
Joy Garner, Tunstall
commented on 24-Sep-2008 09:57
This post prompted this response:
Joy i post as i speak, not how i would write a letter. For the record look at your own spelling and comprehension ie understood and starting a sentence or paragraph with "and". Now a few facts, a) i am the chair of governors at Longton HS.b)BNP leaflets came after a pupil from a neighbouring school came onto the school grounds an assaulted a yr11 Asian boy with a baseball bat. c) students did not carry knives at all, you really should not believe everything you read in the media! d) not a single Labour councilor put him/her self up for the LHS governing body so i assume that your party and you as leader have no issue with the fact that the school is represented by M Coleman (BNP). e) i have always thought that there is a high standard of teaching at the school, never said anything different. f) the reason there is only 40 applying to the school is down to the disastrous plans for the school put forward by the LA over the last five years. You can have my phone number and we can discuss anything else you may wish to raise. With respect i still would like an answer to the questions i asked about your intentions for the future.
Tony, Meir Hay
The SLT at Longton High were told of Councilor Garners comment and yesterday they posted this response:
Councillor Garner
I am responding to your comments on this website in support of the school, its staff & present & former students.You need to get your facts straight before you print false details, you should not believe everything you read in the Sentinel! Fact in 2001 (September 12) following an incident caused by a student from a neighbouring school coming on the premises to cause trouble, intruders not connected with the school did attempt to cause trouble during the lunchtime.The school acted promptly to ensure the safety of the students by bringing them all into the building and calling the police to remove the intruders. A very small number of students were either given fixed term or permanent exclusions for trying to "jump on the band wagon".There were NO riots, NO knives were found - the police can confirm this & in fact the school was complimented for its handling of the incidents by an HMI team.Yes, it was a serious incident in terms of the potential but it was dealt with. Yes, the police did come to school in the days following because we requested their presence in case intruders appeared again. They were very supportive and sensitive to the students.Therefore, I object to your comments re. riots, knives and the police visits. In the interests of my students I would always follow the line of asking for a police presence if I felt it protected our young people from outsiders. The school provides a very calm working environment as experienced by your fellow councillors who have visited us.Yes, the school isn't viable in the long term but it isn't only 40 wanting to join us - and how much do you think the decline in numbers is the responsibility of a council who has been telling our parents that the school is going to shut for some time now.In fact, we have just met with a representative group of parents who do not want their children to be educated anywhere but Longton and not by any staff but Longton's.If we have always had your support why do you print emotive, inaccurate details about us. It is very upsetting to staff and pupils and totally unfair.

Longton High School & Arts College, Longton
commented on 26-Sep-2008 14:55
Whilst I really respect Councilor Garners stance on the BNP, to see these instantiated comments on Longton High is somewhat disappointing to say the least from someone as respected and who as given an enormous amount of her time to the city. I urge Councilor Garner to contact the school and speak to the Head to resolve this issue. We here at pitsnpots would also ask Joy to post on this blog her thoughts and comments on the BNP, the gagging order, her intentions for the future and to share with us her vision for the city. There is no ulterior motive in this request, merely a desire to hear a Labour voice in a city and climate where only the BNP seem to want to be heard.
For those of you who want to read the whole thing you can find it by clicking here:


nita said...

I have one problem with the BNP and the rally they held, and it is, the fact that they have only taken issue with the verdict on the Khan case. Yet, readers of the Sentinel will have seen many other cases, for example the husband who killed his wife, and only got 7 years for manslaughter. Why are the BNP not up in arms about this? If you are representing the people of the City, shouldn't it be ALL the people? Can a BNP member please give us some answers? As for the Leader of the Labour Party making these comments on the Sentinel Web, re Longton High School, I find this very disappointing. Firstly, you should only make statements if you know your facts are correct. To clarify, it was an outsider who came onto the premises, resulting in the trouble at the school. No knives, baseball bats were being carried. For some reason the BNP has targeted the school, in their election leaflets, clearly to stir up some tensions. Fortunately, this has not been successful.

Alison said...

Joy Garner's attack on Longton High School via Tony was a disgrace. As a councillor in the North of the city, I don't see how she is close enough to Longton High to know what went on. Indeed, she wasn't even a councillor at the time the incidents took place, so how she can be such an authority on the subject is beyond me.

Tony's request for her to post on this blogsite will fall on deaf ears. She doesn't have the bottle. She is your typical local politician, opinionated, arrogant and of little use to the people of this city.

As a parent governor of Longton High school, I find her comments and her posts on the Sentinel extremely distasteful, and I fully endorse the school's Senior Leadership Team in their response to her on the Sentinel site.

Longton High has had it's problems in the past, no one is disputing that. The way the Senior Leadership Team, and in particularly the Headteacher, Jan Webber, have dealt with these problems is second to none. It is unfortunate that the problems came at a time when the Local Authority was hell bent on closing Longton High down in any way it could. If it had been another headteacher in another school, the Authority would have been singing their praises and commending them for their work.

Sadly, this has never happened at Longton High, and Jan and the SLT's work goes largely unnoticed, except by those who work with them and see first hand the excellence that takes place daily at Longton.

If Joy Garner really wants to make amends, she should use her position to ensure that the staff and students at LHS get what they deserve - a secure future, and a level playing field in terms of jobs and the education the kids deserve. THEN - she might just redeem herself in the eyes of the electorate in this side of the city.

nicky said...

I was really glad to see that Longton High School responded to Joy Garner with what they knew to be the case. I wholeheartedly agree with alison's comments in her last paragraph which focuses on the practical help that all at Longton need now. The council owe them that. However I fear that it is too much talk, as even back before Ian McLaughlan got so decisively booted out he was talking about developing a protocol for staffing and then Ged Rowney talked about talking to the unions. But what is happening? It sounds from alison's comment that staff and pupils at Longton are still being let down. That's no good, it has got to be sorted out.