“Given the turn the debate has just taken perhaps I should have declared a personal but non prejudicial interest as I am a school governor at an outstanding community school in this borough and married to a teacher at another outstanding local authority controlled school nearby but not in this borough.I am insulted by what I have just heard. Cooperation between schools is key for success, I know this and I am sure many councillors her across the parties know this from their experience of working with schools.This government is driving through an idealogical program based on a fundamental lack of understanding of this fact. The original motion is pragmatic and based on the needs of Reading’s children. A choice of acadamisation is one thing, forced acadamisation against the wishes of parents, students and staff is another.
Reading’s residents expect us to base our deliberations on their best interests, not on government ideology, never more so than in the crucial area of children’s education. This amendment is simply based on a Conservative party press release (Tories look embarrassed) and doesn’t address the issue of forced acadamisation . It is frankly insulting to suggest that the schools – many outstanding – that serve our children that happen to be community schools do not raise aspiration and help our young people achieve.
This is not a picture that I recognise. I don’t believe that parents, young people and certainly not dedicated teachers and other staff would recognise that picture either.
Councillor Ennis s a true champion of Reading’s young people has put aside political point scoring with this motion (jeers from the Libdems and Tories at this point) and is trying to make it council policy that when a school is approached regarding academy status that we will work with the staff, the parents and the local community to ensure that there is proper consultation and that community involvement is preserved. I fail to see how anyone, who isn’t Michael Gove’s mate, would be able to object to this and I am disgusted by the insulting attitude to community schools from the Conservative group.”