Saturday, 25 October 2008
LAME DUCK OR ALRIGHT DUCK?
Mark Meredith has today stated that he intends to stick around until next May and will be anything but a lame duck! What will worry many of the cities population is that he intends to push some of the policies that I think were his un-doing, like the very controversial BSF programme.
I have said many times on this blog that we connected with Longton High School accept that it has to close based on the projected pupil numbers in the coming years. But what of the other schools facing closure? What will the campaigners of Trentham, Berryhill & Mitchell High Schools expect the prospective candidates for Council Leader to do now?
Unlike many of the TAG and other pressure groups from the vulnerable schools, I have no personal issue with the outgoing Elected Mayor, and at the risk of being a tad controversial (unlike me!) I think that Mark Meredith came in for some nasty personal attacks and comments from some factions.
Do I think the Mayor's/SERCO's plans are wrong? You bet your life I do!
I think that because it got so personal between some of the TAG and Mark Meredith, it came down to some kind of "Mexican stand off" and yet the solution to the schools fiasco is just a couple of small changes in the proposal.
I have said that to make the whole process work, what we need is to be prepared to make Two small but potentially unpopular decisions. One is to close Edensor High and not select it to be a predecessor school, and to move the location of the proposed Parkhall Academy.
So if the BSF proposals were altered to include a) a refurbishment for Trentham High School. b) A new Academy on the Blurton High site for the catchment areas for Blurton & Edensor. c) Edensor High to close ( their site is unsuitable for a new building) d) A new academy to be built on the Mitchell High site for the catchment areas of Mitchell, Berryhill & Longton areas.
Now the question is, will any of the likely candidates for Council Leader, pick up on the need to make these relatively small changes that would attract huge support from the parents and teaching staff of the closure faced schools.
Mark Meredith is hell bent on seeing the BSF process through. He knows better than anyone that this policy was the most unpopular of his time in office.
In the next few weeks the Mayor will try and prove through actions, that he is not a "lame duck", the different groups on the council should make sure that the schools issue is the first policy to be reversed, and it has to be a real priority for any wouldbe Leader, to seek urgent talks and consultation with the campaigners and interested parties.
The electorate in this city will, now the decision has been made to ditch the Mayoral system, expect the main players in the council to come out and state their intentions for both their parties, and to inform us of their policies, because we are the stake holders! Nothing less will be acceptable.
Parents and Pupils, the young and the old, have felt for to long that their opinions have not been listened to.
The time as come for the prospective leaders to engage with the city and prove to us that we did make the right decision and that there will be a positive change, what better place to start than with the School reorganisation?
Read The Sentinel article about the mayor by clicking here