Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Labour start education climb-down

Well, it's finally happened - Sheffield Labour have realised that closing a well-liked local school is actually unpopular.

Labour councillors are now planning a "review panel" to examine deeply unpopular plans to close Wisewood and Myers Grove schools.

There will be three members of the panel in total:
although it remains to be seen who they actually appoint to these positions - and who will make the appointments!

The alert among you will have noticed that Labour have promised very little here - merely that they will look again at "all the options".

What "all the options" are is left to interpretation - local parents will remember well that last year the options given at consultation were

a) closure and merger of the two schools, or
b) there is no option B...

(In fact, Hillsborough Labour Councillor Robert MacDonald was quoted at the time as saying it was "the only option" - how they've changed their tune!)

They have also stopped short of restarting the public consultation process - a key step demanded by local parents' group Save Our Community Schools.

But by far the most comical part of the announcement has to be this - the sheer naked self-interest that has motivated it. Labour leader Jan Wilson goes so far as to admit that this apparent re-think is motivated by one thing alone - their defeat in Hillsborough Ward (and ergo the desire of the remaining two Labour councillors to save their skins...)

"It is absolutely clear that we lost due to new voters voting against Labour on the school amalgamation issue - we need to take notice of this," said she.

Be in no doubt, local parents will not be fooled by this - they will want to know categorically that their local schools are safe before they even consider voting Labour again.

Labour's press release leaves no doubt whatsoever: if local residents in Hillsborough had not rejected Labour so overwhelmingly on May 3rd there would be no question of any re-think of these plans whatsoever. Good for them I say.


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