Question asked about council’s commitment to education after school slumps

THE leader of Thurrock Council’s lead opposition group has questioned the council’s commitment to education in the borough and asked if enough resources are being pumped into it.

Labour leader Cllr Jane Pothecary was responding to news that William Edwards School, once a jewel in the borough’s education crown, has slipped to having a ‘requires improvement’ rating inside a decade.

She was also a lead voice in opposing plans to merge responsibilities for children’s social services into an already crammed portfolio of responsibility at directorate level – but though a majority of councillors opposed that move, chief executive Lyn Carpenter forged ahead with plans to give more responsibility to one man – the now corporate director of adults, housing and health and interim director of children’s services, Roger Harris.

Last week the council said that it disputed the findings of the independent watchdog Ofsted inspection and supported the governing South West Essex Community Education Trust’s view that it had been unfairly rated.

Cllr Pothecary says: “It is worrying that a school previously judged to be outstanding in 2010 has slipped to requires improvement.

“We need to understand what’s concerning the inspectors about the way the school is run and we need to look at the support being offered by the council.

“There has to be a joint effort to spur on school improvement but also maintain standards. We can’t just leave schools to get on with it.

“This again raises the question if we have enough resource in the education department to fully support our schools and young people.”