A right to speak?

It’s been a interesting few days since my discussion with Mildenhall Parish Council about the exam results at Mildenhall College made the front page of the Mildenhall Journal with the headline “Head hits back at exam jibe”. It has caused a flurry on twitter, not all positive and I have had a number of calls from parents all of which have been broadly positive, one saying “its about time someone actually told it like it is” he went on to say that standards are my responsibility to which I said actually I think they are all our responsibility, as I think they are.

As an elected County Councillor representing the residents in my division who predominately send their children to Mildenhall College I think I am representing my community in speaking about the exam results and the performance of the school. It’s performance is a regular feature in my post bag and thus I watch their results with great interest, As a cabinet member of the County Council I also see every performance league table comparing our entire Suffolk school system and comparisons with similar County result from across the country, all of which I read with equal great interest. I am in regular contact with its Governors and its head teacher Susan Byles, even if she does not think I should comment saying in the Mildenhall Journal “I don’t really think he is the best person to be making statements about the college” – If I am not well placed to make comment then I do wonder who is?

I take a keen interest in all the schools in my division and the secondary schools they feed. Equally my views take account of the improving performance, which is to be commented and I have and do but in the context of Suffolk’s other secondary schools, there is much room for improvement, indeed all of our schools could make improvements and I equally think that the county must support that improvement that’s why we have changed from three to two tier, that’s why we support the free school movement, that why we have established ‘Raising the Bar’ with the Royal Society of Arts, all initiatives to see our schools make the improvement we all want to see.

I was the Chairman of the local panel work involving literally 100’s of people that oversaw the local implementation of the Suffolk County Council’s decision to rightly change from three tier to two tier; a decision that is already showing a marked improvement in key stage two performance in those areas that went first. I pressed hard for the millions of pounds of investment poured in new school buildings and other improvements in Beck Row, West Row, and Lakenheath Primary Schools and pushed, along with Cllr. Lisa Chambers, for the £10M Red Lodge Primary, to be opened early as a replacement for Tuddenham Primary.

I am also a supporter of the new Free School at Brandon and have lobbied and been successful in changing the transport proposals and now policy of the County Council for Lakenheath and today Parents have the choice to send their children to Mildenhall or Brandon secondary schools on Free School Transport.

A number of parents have talked to me about the merits or otherwise of both schools and I have always talked about the known improving performance of Mildenhall, albeit from a very average base set against the untested but interesting ideas emerging from the Brandon Free school. Personally I think competition is a good thing and it will be interesting to see over the coming years how the offer of both schools progresses.

All of us are aware of the challenges facing the ageing buildings of Mildenhall College and so far this year have attended 4 meetings working with fellow County and District Councillors looking at how to solve the problems and I am championing the College in those efforts.

Being a County Councillor has many responsibilities and one of them is to support and challenge our schools and to meet and address the concerns of parents who talk to me about our schools, and I will continue to do just that.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal, anything I write is promoted by Lance Stanbury on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Park Farm Cottage, Fordham St. Genevieve, BurySt. Edmunds, Suffolk IP28 6TS

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