WHATEVER happened to democracy?
What is the point of having a consultation if they are going to ignore the consultees?
I refer to the Lincolnshire County Council decision to close St Bede’s and hand Haven High a monopoly on non-selective secondary education in Boston.
St Bede’s will close because GCSE results fall below the Government benchmark which is currently 35 per cent of 5 A-C including English and Maths – a performance target which rises to 40 per cent next year.
However, Haven High Technology College, although not as poorly performing as St Bede’s, itself currently falls below this benchmark at 28 per cent 5ACEM compared with 20 per cent at St Bede’s. It could well find itself in the same position, under threat as a failing school.
There was an alternative, not included in the LCC consultation exercise, that would have maintained parental choice and diversity. The Giles Academy put forward three alternative proposals, one of which would have saved St Bede’s as a separate entity, making it a brand new academy with support from the Giles, a school which, unlike Haven High, actually has experience of assisting a failing secondary, and whose 5ACEM score is 51 per cent.
Having learned of Giles’ alternative plan, which seems to have been kept very quiet, campaigners presented an 800-signature petition and made a number of representations in accordance with the statutory process, as well as lobbying all local councillors and the MP.
Why was only the Haven High proposal consulted on, and the Giles proposals not put to the public or parents?
Why was St Bede’s federated with the Haven High last year without any consultation?
Why has DfE guidance been ignored? Why choose to rescue one failing school with another below the benchmark when a high performing school is willing to help?
It has been left to Labour and Independent county councillors to ask for a call-in. None of them are from Boston.
Shame on Boston’s county councillors for neglecting our young people.