No review in schools change bid

By Ian Dipple Friday 11 July 2014 Updated: 11/07 09:06

CALLS for an independent review into any proposed re-organisation of Redditch schools have been dismissed.

Coun Robin Lunn, who represents Redditch North, urged Worcestershire County Council to intervene to end the uncertainty for parents and children following Tudor Grange Academy Redditch’s attempt to expand the school’s admission age and take pupils from the age of 11.

Although the proposal now appears to have been deferred for at least a year, Coun Lunn said the issue was not going to go away with Rigdeway Middle School and Astwood Bank and Webheath First Schools also consulting on changes to the age they admit pupils from.

He said a review would allow schools to work together, ensure proper consultation with parents and children and if change was necessary, allow it to be planned in a reasonable timescale.

“What very many people in Redditch have been saying is you need to have a very strong educational reason to change your system because of the turmoil caused to the children in that system. I state in Redditch this evidence does not exist,” he said.

Coun Lunn was speaking during a debate at a full council meeting last Thursday (July 15) on a notice of motion put forward by Arrow Valley West councillor Pattie Hill. It urged Worcestershire County Council to denounce the confusion caused by the TGAR proposal, for the consultation to be deferred and for further clarifciation on the business case behind the plan from the Education Funding Agency, which would sign off any change.

But Coun Liz Eyre, responsible for children and families on the council, said as the TGAR proposal had already been deferred she could not support the motion.

“Our role is not the role of running schools, it is as an influencer of schools. We have used our influence and our influence has been more than helpful in this issue,” she said.

“You are right about communication but it is for the schools to communicate and us to influence that communication.

“We are in early days and this issue is finding its way around the country.

“This is one cluster, we have done the work needed to do, we’ve not sat on the sidelines, we’re still working with the four schools, we’re working with the EFA in the right way as a strong influencer.”

But Coun Hill said: “We all know this is just deferred and this will start again. This was our one opportunity to say something to Tudor Grange Trust that they have not behaved in an appropriate way for the children and families of Redditch.”

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