Council bosses accused of ‘incompetence’ over education

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A councillor has accused Suffolk County Council bosses of presiding over a ‘relationship breakdown’ with schools which has hit educational standards.

Cllr Mark Ereira-Guyer, leader of the Green and Independent Group, says the authority’s political and managerial leadership has been ‘incompetent’ on school issues.

He argues this is reflected in the county being ranked the third worst performing local authority nationally in the recent Key Stage Two league table results.

Cllr Ereira-Guyer, who represents the Tower division in Bury St Edmunds, said: “They haven’t listened to teachers, pupils and parents. Twenty years ago people moved here to come to Suffolk’s schools.”

His comments came as the council’s chief executive Deborah Cadman pledged that ‘enough is enough’ following the poor results.

Speaking at the latest event in the Raising the Bar initiative - the authority’s drive to improve educational attainment, Mrs Cadman said the ranking had reinforced her ‘commitment to make a difference’. She said: “We had some excellent results in schools which have gone through reorganisation, have grasped the nettle in the drive to improve and which have had intense support from the council. But we’ve also seen some poor results which are having an effect.

“For me, enough is enough. These results are not good enough and I’m more convinced than ever that what we’re doing to improve education performance, through reorganisation and the Raising the Bar programme, is absolutely the right thing to do.”

Cllr Ereira-Guyer emailed Mrs Cadman with his concerns but says he received no response.

Addressing Cllr Ereira-Guyer’s points, Cllr Graham Newman, cabinet member for educatiuon, said: ““What Suffolk needs is strong and determined political and professional leadership to improve educational attainment in our schools. We are providing that leadership.

“In areas which have gone through reorganisation, schools produced significant improvements at key stage two. The outcomes of our Raising the Bar inquiry will add further drive to this key political priority and I will do everything in my power to ensure improvements are made.

“Cheap political point scoring on what is a serious political issue achieves nothing in the drive to improve educational attainment in Suffolk.”