The Trentham Action Group had to face up to more disappointment yesterday when the latest council vote went against them. Inside reports suggest that Councilors Ibbs & Irving led the charge against the cities most successful non selective school, Labour councilors also failed to support the vote to keep Trentham High open which goes against the stance taken by the Stoke South MP Rob Flello (Labour).
Here are the thoughts of one of Trentham Action Groups main players who sat through the ordeal in the council chamber:
"I was at the Council Meeting yesterday and was extremely encouraged to hear councillors from all over the city supporting Trentham High School and questioning the legitimacy of the so-called consultation (as we will soon be doing via the courts). Our elected Mayor pointed out that, should any part of the BSF process be reviewed, we would lose the entire £200m+ that is earmarked for the City. I find that very difficult to believe given that I have been given written assurances from the DCSF that this is not the case.
Similarly Councillor Irving tried to convince Council that the entire reason that funding for the BSF had previously been refused was because the closure of Trentham High School was not included in those proposals and the only reason that they might now be approved is because Trentham High School IS on the closure list. Again, I feel that the facts have been manipulated to convince the Council that the entire BSF funding rests on the future of one school, especially since Jim Knight intervened way back in February to suggest that saving Trentham High School would be an acceptable option.
Our elected Mayor also leapt to the defence of the Edensor head teacher in relation to his recent ill-judged decision to ship his entire teaching staff off to Spain. Whilst condemning the Marbella fiasco, he went on to point out how fantastic Mr Mercer is and how he has achieved great things in improving the percentage of pupils who achieved 5 GCSEs including English and Maths from 29% in 2007 to 34% in 2008. Well I am sorry but, in the same period, Trentham High School has leapt from 44% to 57% and that was under the threat of closure. Mr Meredith and his cronies repeatedly refuse to acknowledge how successful Trentham High School really is and instead continually hark back to the days when it was in special measures. Why is it that everyone else's improvement (including their own appalling Council star rating) is shouted from the rooftops and yet the biggest success story in this City is overlooked and ignored? Could it be because it simply doesn't suit their argument?
My only hope now is that Jim Knight reviews SERCO's proposals and questions why on earth they are attempting to close one of the best schools that the City has. If that doesn't happen, I am afraid that I will be joining the throngs of other parents in seeking out education for my children at schools out of the control of Stoke-on-Trent LEA. The legacy of this debacle is that it has (and will continue to) cost many Councillors their positions and will ruin the education of a generation of schoolchildren. It has divided most schools in the City and has gutted the communities affected. What a legacy for our esteemed Mayor to leave behind, he must be so proud!"
I really can not believe that the LA and EMB so so intent on closing such a high achieving school, it just does not make sense. The time has come for some answers in this city and we the people deserve nothing less than the truth.
Is the BSF funding reliant on there being a set number of academies in the city?
If there were no academies included in the proposals would the city still get the £230 million? It's worth noting that the previous occupiers of the education office always said that academies were a choice not a necessity so what if anything has changed?
Using a football analogy, isn't the best thing for the team in general to build the team around the best players?
Using a business analogy, if you employ a star salesman would'nt you using him/her to motivate the rest of your sales team?
The leaders and in particular the Elected Mayor seem hell bent on destroying the cities success stories!
We seem to stumble from one disaster to another especially in the schools fiasco.
Well you've listened to my rant on this issue now it's time to have your say on all things education and particularly the councils shocking decision to close Trentham High.
To read the Sentinel article on yesterday's meeting click here:
There is another report on yesteray's meeting. Hands Off Haywood had a representative there and his report can be viewed by clicking on the following link:
UPDATED AT 17:25
The pitsnpots hot line just hasn't stopped today! I've been asked to point out that the two main objectors to the TAG and their fight to keep their school opened came from Mr Ibbs & Mr Irving (2 out of the 3 Trentham Ward Councillors!) It beggars belief that these two seasoned politicians have gone against the wishes of their electorate. Surely this makes their position untenable? Their is talk of a petition against them and a possible vote of no confidence. Surely these two can not carry on representing this community when surely there is no confidence in their work and the question is, if they are not serving the people of Trentham just who are they serving?
Finally we must mention Karen Pate, what a heroine! She got to meltdown point after she listened to Mark Meredith our Elected Mayor told the council chamber that academies were the only way to improve education in this city. Our Kaz could stand it no longer, she was up on her feet shouting to the Mayor that he has NO proof that academies raise attainment in education and then she promptly walked out of the chamber. This lady stood up and took the decision that enough was enough and she could stand the spin no longer. Karen, we here at pitsnpots think you are a legend! Our own Steve Cotton sat through the CYPO&SC meeting and listened to the spin and when he had heard about as much as he could take he to got up and spoke his mind! People might think that these outbursts are wrong and they may have a point, but this is always going to happen when you are not given the right to voice your opinion and you know that what you are hearing is just not right.