Friday, February 11 2011
"I do not mean to trivialise so important an issue, but it may be said that fortune has favoured the brave." The pithy words of Mr Justice Holman who has ruled in favour of KCC and five other councils in their legal battle over the scrapping of the Building Schools for The Future programme.
In other words, it was a bit of a risk but KCC and the other councils have been rewarded for sticking to their guns and taking on the schools secretary Mr Gove in the courts.
Despite some fairly naked spinning by the DfE, there really is no disputing that the councils have come out on top and the judge was distinctly underwhelmed by the way the DFE had gone about scrapping the scheme.
But the key issue is not the different interpretations being put on the ruling but whether Mr Gove will change his mind and agree to go ahead with some of the schemes he axed.
I'm told KCC is already marshalling its case but is conscious that in the austerity era, it is unlikely to be able to write a wish-list and watch as Mr Gove capitulates to all its demands. There is some political face-saving to be done here and the DFE will want to be able to portray itself as having listened but not rolled over completely.
But fair play to the county council. Any legal action is brought knowing there's a fine line between success and failure and this time, KCC was on the right side. There is now a glimmer of hope for schools in limbo where there wasn't before.
Wednesday, December 8 2010
Children from the Foundation and Year 1 classes at Minster Primary School, Minster, performing their Nativity play in front of parents, by ANDY PAYTON
Wednesday, September 29 2010
Kent County Council is currently in hot water, with admission staff facing a potential nightmare. Parents in Thanet, after a month of the new school year, are still waiting to find out the school of their childs potential destination - which has led to a major backlash. According to government documents, "casual admissions are those that occur outside the normal admission round for the admission of children to school" and under reforms from the previous government, all casual admissions must go through the local authority.
With this in mind, Kent County Council have decided to blame the previous government. A fair point. This is a bureaucratic nightmare.
But, alas, the council did have enough time to prepare. The Meeting of Kent Schools Admissions Forum, Thursday, 17th December, 2009 2.00 pm (Item 4.) clearly highlights, that the council were aware problems might occur in this years admissions (2010/11). So, a fair question to ask, why wasn't a contingency plan constructed? Judging by other councils, action plans were implemented and local authorities cooperated with the schools - to ensure a smooth and less chaotic process. But not in Kent. If a strategy was formulated, I'm sorry, but I cannot see any evidence of it working. Unless I'm being too criticial, I cannot even understand a coherent strategy or route of action in this disastrous news. It is truly appalling. Blaming others is an excuse because, as I've found out, the council were aware from December 2009 that an event like this could occur. Eight months to prepare the system; agreed it is short, but it can be done.
I fear this will no doubt drag on into October and, hopefully, this will not damage the future of the children involved. Education is important, very significant to a child's development, and it is about time Kent County Council takes education very seriously.