John Whitehouse

Retired County Councillor for Kenilworth Abbey Division Learn more

County Tories in Disarray – Again!

by John Whitehouse on 3 July, 2008

The saga of the review of secondary education in Nuneaton & Bedworth took another unexpected turn at today’s meeting of the Conservative Cabinet of the county council.

After eight months of review, debate and consultation, the Cabinet had been presented with detailed proposals to renew and redevelop secondary school provision in Nuneaton & Bedworth district. The proposals were controversial but had a clear logic behind them, with the most contentious area being in East and Central Nuneaton, where declining pupil numbers argued for two schools rather than the current three. Wrapped up in all the proposals was the apparent opportunity to achive early release of BSF (Building Schools for the Future) funding from the government, and also the assertion that this would only be possible if at least one Academy was included.

At the Cabinet meeting today these proposals were unexpectedly replaced with a new set of recommendations, which ducked the contentious issue of three schools into two, and called for more analysis and discussion pending the opportunity to find out what the latest government thinking was on both BSF and Academy funding – the goverment seems to moving the goalposts yet again.

I am not in favour of Academies in principle, nor are the Liberal Democrats as a national party – nor by his own admission is the Conservative leader of the council, and many other members of all parties. Yet they are basing their whole strategy around academies on the grounds that this is what the government wants – ignoring the Conservative party’s advice yesterday to councils to stop co-operating with the Labour government on policies they don’t agree with! The only remaining question seems to be is it two Academies or only one?

In the meantime, the uncertainty hanging over Nuneaton schools – staff, pupils and parents – is allowed to continue on into the Autumn. A very sorry state of affairs.

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