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Posted by: John Brace | 22nd October 2014

Cllr Foulkes uses phrase “shambolic” to describe Wirral Council’s decision making on Lyndale School

Cllr Foulkes uses phrase “shambolic” to describe Wirral Council’s decision making on Lyndale School

                                  

Councillor Phil Gilchrist explains his amendment on the minority report on Lyndale School to councillors, officers and the public 2nd October 2014 Council Chamber, Wallasey Town Hall (c) John Brace

Councillor Phil Gilchrist explains his amendment on the minority report on Lyndale School to councillors, officers and the public 20th October 2014 Council Chamber, Wallasey Town Hall (c) John Brace

Below is the text of the amendment submitted on Monday evening to the minority report from Cllr Paul Hayes. It was not circulated to the public gallery, so myself and another went downstairs during the adjournment to get a copy.

Despite the Chief Executive’s assertion that it was a “private paper”, this will form part of the minutes of the public meeting on 22nd October 2014.

It is a shame committee services officers aren’t instructed to circulate copies to the public gallery too during the adjournment. However this would cost Wirral Council the extra labour costs of sending someone up the stairs and the extra photocopying costs of a further ten or so sheets of paper, so I am happy in these straightened financial times to decrease the labour costs of Wirral Council!

So this Lib Dem amendment gets a wider audience (and I got told off a bit by the Chief Executive on my way out of the Council Chamber for being in the Council Chamber as he made some point about “private papers” and a “private meeting” that to be honest I didn’t understand at the time as we were both tired), it is below. I’ve linked from it to the documents referred to in it. It’s also interesting to hear the Mayor’s comments on an attempt to make councillors vote on an amendment they hadn’t received a copy of yet!

The item on Lyndale School starts at the 3 minute 40 second mark, lasts for a further six minutes then the meeting is adjourned.

This is after the meeting resumed after the adjournment and continues below at the next clip.

The item on Lyndale School is for about two minutes at the start.

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COUNCIL 20 OCTOBER 2014

Proposed: Cllr Phil Gilchrist
Seconded: Cllr Dave Mitchell

Amendment to the Minority Report from Cllr Paul Hayes

It be noted that the SEN Improvement Test as set out on Page 87 as Appendix 3 in the Consultant’s Report did not fully set out paragraph 40 as set out in the Guidance Document, namely that:

“….Decision-makers should make clear how they are satisfied that this SEN improvement test has been met, including how they have taken account of parental or independent representations which question the proposer’s assessment”.

…was not included and that, therefore, the matter should be referred back to Cabinet so that they can fully set out how they have undertaken this assessment in the light of the guidance.

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Of course, the question is therefore, did Wirral Council’s Cabinet (and Coordinating Committee) actually have to consider the guidance before reaching a decision? It would seem from the legislation they do have to have regard to it. For the purposes of clarity LEA stands for Local Education Authority:

Section 72 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 c.40 states the following:

“72. Duty of LEA to have regard to guidance

A local education authority must, in exercising their functions under this Part, have regard to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.”

Note the use of the word must, the decision makers must have regard to any guidance (which was issued on the 28th January 2014). It’s not optional to do so. The current guidance introduced in January 2014 is in four parts (and hasn’t been included in the papers for the meetings so far in full):

School organisation (maintained schools) (23 pages) issued 28/1/14

School organisation: annex A (16 pages) issued 28/1/14

School organisation: annex B (23 pages) issued 28/1/14

School organisation: annex C (14 pages) issued 28/1/14

In other words, when making the decisions on 5th February 2014, 25th February 2014, 27th February 2014, 4th September 2014, 2nd October 2014 and 20th October 2014 can those over sixty councillors all prove they had regard to the guidance when the seventy-six pages of government guidance wasn’t included in the papers for those meetings?

Not even four weblinks were included, so they could read it in their own time was included.

The guidance that was quoted, wasn’t for the right time period and after new guidance was issued on the 28th January 2014, Wirral Council just kept using the old version as the first Cabinet meeting to discuss Lyndale School was held on the 16th January 2014.

Why don’t people bother to check these things at Wirral Council before including them in meeting papers? Should the Labour councillors accept some responsibility for not asking officers whether required guidance was not included with the papers or do Labour councillors assume that Wirral Council officers don’t make any mistakes (unlike the rest of us)?

During the adjournment I happened to pass Julia Hassall (Wirral Council’s Director of Children’s Serivces) leaving the Council Chamber and she didn’t look very happy by this development. However it’s been known for some time (although apparently Wirral Council officers and politicians are the last to know it seems).

It’s just one of many unresolved anomalies about how the decisions surrounding Lyndale School have not been made as they should have done.

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Responses

  1. What a cheek he is the architect with his coterie of the complete and utter banjax!

    • That was before he became Mayor in June 2014.

      Now he is Mayor he can’t be seen to be party political and therefore abstains on votes on Lyndale School (which reduces the Labour votes by one).

      What does banjax mean?

  2. Banjax “A mess or undesirable situation made as a result of incompetence”
    ” To ruin or destroy” it is a phrase of Irish origin hope this explains Will’s use of the phrase. Isn’t goggle wonderful & it truly explains wirrals handling of the Lyndale Fiasco.

  3. […] the Council meeting on the 20th October 2014 when Labour councillors voted to go ahead to the next stage on closure of Lyndale School, Wirral […]


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