Friday, January 08, 2010

Suffolk Conservatives fail on education

Penny Otton, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Children and Young People, has responded to a piece in yesterday's East Anglian Daily Times critical of Suffolk's GCSE results.

"The fact that Suffolk’s GCSE results started to fall below the national average when the Conservatives took control of the council in 2005 is a sad indictment. For the 12 years in which Liberal Democrats jointly ran the County Council Suffolk was admired as one of the best education authorities in the country. So why has it all gone so badly wrong?

Your correspondent John Parsons (EADT 7th Jan) rightly identifies that the Conservatives have created chaos and uncertainty in their mad dash to abolish Middle Schools. Instead they should have been directing their attention to deprived areas, where there is a huge gap in educational achievement for children in less well off families. The five worst performing secondary schools in Suffolk are all in deprived areas. Three are within the two tier education system in Ipswich and Felixstowe. The other two poorly performing schools are in the three tier areas of Haverhill and Lowestoft. This shows that poor performance is related to deprivation rather than school structure.

Some of the best performing schools in the County are in 3 tier areas and the paper for the 12th January Cabinet meeting states that primary schools in the three tier system are doing better than those in the two tier system.

The Conservatives should admit they have made a huge mistake and say sorry to students, parents and teachers for letting them down."

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