I attended a really interesting meeting last night at the Apex in Bury St. Edmunds. It was organised by a group called S.A.T.S.

Not my patch of course but given the debate later this morning I thought I would pop along to see what was being said and indeed if there was anything new I could add to my deliberation later today. I took lots of notes and then spent a couple of hours last night re-reading the original papers in light of what was said last night. I was joined by a number of my fellow Cabinet members and Councillors and candidates; others wanted to be there but such is the way of these things some were as is usual attending other meetings, indeed for me it’s quite rare that I don’t have a Parish or community meeting to attend on a Monday night.

One of the interesting aspects of the meeting was that social media principally Facebook and twitter @SATSinfo & @suffolkaction was used to advertise it along with more traditional word of mouth and the usual posters. They have also set up a web site to widen their views on the subject. That’s why we had such a good crowd and I counted it at about 200 or so, which was actually hardly hugh numbers given the area of the pyramid and that so many schools effected were within walking distance of the venue.

Of course as is usual at the end of such event I was challenged as to what I know about the subject and I reflected back some 7 years now to the first drafts of the cross party Policy Development Panel (PDP) report about the different areas in Suffolk with two tier schooling and 3 tier; convened simply because it was and is stark that 2 tier areas outperform 3 tier areas. It drew the conclusion that we should make the change to a system 2 tier and that this should happen in phases to allow for learning and the capacity of the team to support schools and pupils through the process.

Since that time of course, the last remaining few Local Educational Authorities (LEA) with the same issues or say a whole three tier system have gone through the same process and almost every single one has come to the same conclusion.

Equally the recently published league tables show that whilst Suffolk is improving it is not improving as well as the rest of the Country something we recognise and are doing something about.

As far as I can recall there were about 4 meetings where we initially discussed and had presentations on the policy proposal, then came the public meeting I recall attending other meetings in Bury St. Edmunds and Haverhill and chairing two of them in my area; next came the cabinet meeting and full Council debates as we adopted the proposal as policy. When time came for my area to reorganise I attended every single by one of the school’s public meetings so I think that was 7 meetings and more importantly I chaired the 100 or so people who came forward to work out how exactly to implement it in Forest Heath’s area and I seem to recall we meet 6 times. On top of that probably read some 300 or so emails, 3 web sites, and I would imagine well over 1,000 pages of written reports and evidence, most notably from Head teachers from across the two and three tier pyramids. So I think I am reasonable well placed to do what I was elected to do – think about the subject at hand and to vote for what I believe is the right way forward.

Of course recently we have seen the disappointing drop in the league tables and third from bottom does not make for comfortable reading. I have elsewhere in my blog talked about the Raising the Bar initiative and all I am going to say about that is that it was launched long before we knew last year’s results nor where were in the league tables as they were not made public to you and indeed us until January this year. Not to mention the rise of Academies and Free Schools following the change of government.

So in light of the improving but not improving anywhere near fast enough figures and the changing landscape; the question to my mind is does this change the premise of the original decision or not – I was there last night to listen, take notes go home and form my opinion, as I was sort of elected to do and this afternoon I shall be there in Endeavour House to debate and then vote for what I think is the right way forward.

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, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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