Tuesday, 26 February 2008

The Big Give Away: Why the Rush?

“We should be putting our children first, not the needs of Sponsors. NAME is about what’s best for our children, and we know that an Academy isn’t the right answer. Neither are school closures – we mustn’t let our communities die, especially for the sake of pushing through a half-baked policy. ” – a Rother Valley parent.
· NAME expects that under plans to be revealed on Wednesday, West Sussex County Council will announce its intention to hand over the land and buildings on the Midhurst Intermediate School and Midhurst Grammar School River sites to United Learning Trust, as soon as this summer. These are assets paid for out of council taxes, yet ULT may be allowed under its Funding Agreement to sell off the River site and keep the proceeds! Name spokesperson Simon Boxley argues:
“You might not like the way that West Sussex County Council have run Rother Valley schools, but at least in theory you could vote them out. However if WSCC washes its hands of these schools, they will be beyond the electorate’s control for good. NAME predict that in a desperate bid to gain central government funding, West Sussex intend to open the new Academy on the existing MIS and MGS sites in September 2008, as a temporary measure before a new school is built. New ownership – same old buildings. We say why rush into such a divisive and controvertial course of action, instead of waiting for a school rebuild which would allow us to retain democratic control over the use of our taxes. This scheme bears all the hallmarks of other rushed privatisations. Like Railtrack, this can only end in disaster.”
· NAME have consistently argued that the ‘consultation’ is anything but a serious effort on County’s part to gain the public’s views. Sadly this has been confirmed this week by West Sussex’s refusal to abide by its outcome, merely to have regard for views expressed. However, we urge everybody to attend the meetings, return the forms and let West Sussex County Council know that Rother Valley residents will not see their heritage, their taxes and their democratic influence thrown away in this rushed manner.
Lizz Tinder from the NAME campaign added:
“The proposals published this week by WSCC are highly contentious, so we expect a high level of interest in the campaign. We’ve already heard from many people intending to attend our public meeting on Thursday 28th February at the Easbourne Refectory at 7pm. If the Refectory becomes too crowded, we will move the meeting to the Church in order to accommodate everyone. We are very sorry that this meeting clashes with the Herbert Shiner parents’ evening, but this was the only date we could book the venue following publication and before meetings held by the LA at each school. We welcome late-comers from the parents evening, and we intend to hold another public meeting at the end of this phase of consultation. More information will be continually published on the blog, where you can make your feelings known: http://namecampaign.blogspot.com/ and you can email us at: namecampaign@yahoo.com”

No comments: