By Tony Walley.
Because of, or in spite of – SERCO?
This week has seen the publication of this years GCSE results.
First off let us celebrate the fantastic achievement of our city’s secondary schools. These results are probably the best for many many years if not the best of all time.
Mitchell High, Sandon High & James Brindley stand out for me in particular.
At Mitchell, Headteacher Paul Liddle and his fantastic team turned up results of a phenomenal nature. In 2008 the percentage of pupils who achieved 5 A* – C including English & Maths stood at 16%. This year the percentage has risen to an astonishing 44%.
The previous Headteacher at Mitchell was awarded an OBE for the schools results achieved under the old 5A* – C not accounting the core subjects of English and Maths. With this years fantastic performance Paul Liddle deserves a knighthood let alone an OBE.
I know that Mitchell has had assistance from the LA and I wonder if he would acknowledge the help he and his team were given by SERCO’s Ged Rowney and Ian Kendrick? Somehow I think he would.
Sandon High a school ‘in special measures’, showed the city that their difficulties were nothing to do with the quality of teaching in operation at the school.
In the last 8months or so their leadership was overseen by Executive Head Keith Hollins who steadied the ship and re-focused the staff. The school has a brand new headteacher who is motivated, energetic and has already have an impact at the school.
Sandon has achieved results of 44% and will surely not be in the ‘special measures’ category for much longer.
The LA have put a lot of support into Sandon and were very involved in the selection of the new headteacher and as someone who has been involved in this school [in a small way] I know that Mr Rowney and his team has assisted and supported the school.
James Brindley the school that is most in need of a re-build in the city is used to staring up from the bottom of the league tables at the other city schools.
This is very much no longer the case. A fantastic performance this year has seen results soar to 28% % A* – C including English and Maths, in comparison to last years 19%.
Whilst this is still some way short of the LA & National average it shows that it is definitely a school on the up.
Other results across the city are as impressive as the above.
Isn’t it time that we gave the officers at the civic centre and in particularly the Director and his deputy some credit for the turnaround of fortunes in the performance of our city’s secondary schools?
Is it a coincidence that since SERCO came to our city,Ã‚ Children’s Services has dramatically improved and the latest news of the improvement in this years GCSE results must be in some way down to the leadership of this controversial organisation?
We have been quick to criticise Ged Rowney and his team, they have taken some abuse and at times a right good kicking. I myself have witnessed Ged Rowney being called a liar in open public meetings.
Is it not right that now when our city’s schools have improved on Serco’s watch, we can be big enough to say ‘well done’
I won’t hold my breath especially when I read some of the negativity that emanates from some of the contributors to this site……
Cuts in Adult Social Care
I am appalled at the prospect of seeing huge cuts that will impact upon some of the most vulnerable in our society.
Today news broke that our city’s purse strings holders are prepared to see services cut to cover a £1.6million deficit in the budget.
This cut will come predominately in Elderly Care & Adult Social Care.
Some 6000 care packages are now being reviewed to see whether further cuts can be made. I know of many individuals that rely on the care service. In other cases I am aware of, sometimes the only friendly face that an elderly person may see on a daily basis is that of a carer who comes into the home to provide hygiene and food services.
I can not believe that in this day and age that we are even considering making cuts in services that vulnerable residents in our great city fundamentally rely upon.
The four most important services that should never have ANY funding cuts are Adult Services, Children and Young Peoples Services, Housing and Regeneration. Cut away in other areas by all means, do what you need to do to balance the books. But for Christ sakes do not hit those people in our society who need taking care of the most.
As an example our ‘Communications’ or press department as we know it has £1million per year pumped into it and whilst I agree it is important to communicate with the public that is served by our City Council, no ones quality of life would be affected if this department was not there.
I am not suggesting that the great work done by Dan Barton and his team is worthless, far from it. The Communications Department provides services like translation etc which enhances the lives of some of our city’s residents. But the point I am making is that it is not as valuable service as Elderly Care, yet our city’s masters are looking to cut care packages. I have not heard of one suggestion of cutting the funding to a less critical service like Communications as an example, surely there is something dreadfully wrong here.
If we spend a single pound on training courses like ‘Common Purpose’ to enhance the performance of our councillors and officers then surely this is something that must be cut before a single penny is taken away from Adult Services and other critical Council Services. I am not saying this to have a go at the ‘Common Purpose’ providers but I say this as a reminder to those decision makers who value something like this before the care of the elderly and most vulnerable in our city.
In short, I don’t want to read articles in our local press The Sentinel, that inform me that essential services are to be cut in our city due to a budget shortfall – by god no!
I want to read that the decision makers, those top officers on their massive salaries, along with our most senior elected representatives have investigated all none critical services and departments in a bid to find the possible cuts needed to balance the books.
Note to the Interim Chief Executive, Council leader and Cabinet:
Do you really think the people in this city are that stupid as to put up with cuts to essential, critical & frontline services before the closure or cuts in funding to non essential, non critical, backroom services and departments?
I URGE YOU TO SERIOUSLY THINK AGAIN!!