As anyone will know who is a regular visitor to this blog, Tony and myself have been shocked by the Edensor training trip issue, recently highlighted in the media both locally, and across the globe. You will also be aware that, as Governors of Longton High School, Tony and myself have requested an inquiry into this issue, and the Sentinel ran an article about it on Saturday.
On the Sentinel website yesterday, we were both very personally attacked by the ex deputy director of the education department, who stated that we have a personal vendetta against ETC, and that we have over the past few years made decisions which have failed Longton High.
In response to this, we have now removed all references to ETC from this blog, and I would like to make our position clear:
We have absolutely no problem with Edensor Technology College. We know it is a good performing, well populated school. In this respect, it is like many others in the city. What we have a problem with is the need to spend all this money on a training exercise which could have been carried out in the UK for about a third of the cost. It would not matter a jot which city school it was, we would still have asked for an inquiry. Indeed, judging by the comments on the Sentinel website to the many different articles referring to the trip, we are not alone in wanting to have this information.
In no way is it a witch-hunt against Edensor and its staff. Our issue is purely that, as governors, we would not have sanctioned such expense.
It has been a shock to both myself and Tony to be attacked and accused of a vendetta, by this ex Deputy Director. If we have failed in our duty as governors of Longton High, both of us are more than willing to resign. As I said in my Sentinel post, I have served as a governor at 2 city schools, over the past 12 years, and when I agreed to take up the post, it was never indicated to me that I might be abused or attacked for my actions, least of all by an ex education official!
When I became a governor, I never expected to be in a position whereby I would have to make decisions regarding school closures, attend council meetings and making representations to councillors on behalf of the staff, or negotiate with other schools regarding employment issues for our staff. I also never expected to have to defend myself in the local press for questioning something that many, many people on the Sentinel website and much further afield, have condemned.
The decisions we have taken over many years which the ex deputy director alluded to in his Sentinel post, relate to the many different closure options put on the table for Longton High over the past 4 years, by the 2 senior officials at the education department prior to Serco's appointment. The only one which was acceptable to Longton High's governors, staff and parents was the merger and rebuild of a school for Edensor and Longton students, either on the Longton site or somewhere else in the local community. In this project we were willing participants, but the rug was pulled from under us when it was announced by Serco that Edensor would become the predecessor school for the Parkhall Academy, thereby scuppering the merger project.
Unless otherwise requested by the staff and other governors at Longton High, Tony and myself will continue to support the school, to hopefully work with the Local Authority, interested councillors and other schools, to help secure a brighter future for our students and staff. The two go hand in hand. If we don't work towards the best possible outcome for the staff, what hope have the kids got? This is the single most important issue for us as governors. I hope people can respect this and allow us to get on with it without further personal attacks.