Posted by: John Brace | 8th May 2017

Are Wirral councillors about to make another Town Hall bungle on education?

Are Wirral councillors about to make another Town Hall bungle on education?


Cabinet 17th December 2014 vote on Lyndale School closure L to R Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Education), Cllr George Davies, Cllr Ann McLachlan

Cabinet 17th December 2014 vote on Lyndale School closure L to R Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Education), Cllr George Davies, Cllr Ann McLachlan

Pictured above is Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services) who has political accountability to the public for education at Wirral Council.

For those with long memories, who read my article The reasons why Wirral Council’s Lyndale School call in is being delayed or the Wirral Globe article headlined Town Hall bungle means Lyndale meeting called off you will recall when I pointed out to a certain Monitoring Officer called Surjit Tour who works for Wirral Council that the call in over the Lyndale School closure wasn’t lawful. He agreed with me and the public meeting had to be postponed.

Regulations that the last Labour government brought in The Education (Parent Governor Representatives) Regulations 1999 require the education committee of a local council, to have a minimum of two and a maximum of five parent governor representatives with voting rights.

Many councils appoint three, so that if one should cease to be a parent governor at that school, die, or indeed not turn up to meetings for six months without sending apologies and therefore be removed it doesn’t drop below two.

Wirral Council next week meets at Wallasey Town Hall on Tuesday 16th May 2017, see here to appoint its committees for the 2017-18 municipal year, although the agenda and reports are here.

As previously stated on this blog, the People Overview and Scrutiny Committee (which covers education) is proposed to be split into two new committees, the Adult Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Children and Families Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

The People Overview and Scrutiny Committee, currently has only has one parent governor representative on it.

Below is video of Cllr Steve Foulkes explaining why Wirral Council can’t carry on with only one parent governor representative (although at the time the Committee he was referring to had none).

So why are Wirral Council seemingly ignoring this legal requirement in 2017?

Will Councillor Steve Foulkes remember next week what he stated in 2014? Or do the Wirral public just have more political fudge to look forward to next week from a council whose leadership, management and governance of education was rated inadequate by OFSTED last year?

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Coordinating Committee (Wirral Council) 5th February 2014 Part 1 of 2

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Coordinating Committee (Wirral Council) 5th February 2014 Part 2 of 2

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  1. Perhaps John after your email of the 8th September 2014 to Mr Tour it would be interesting to publish his reply after tying the council in legal knots. It is a disgrace that the closure was proposed in the first place.

    • Hi Jonathan Hardaker.

      As the decision has already been made to close Lyndale School and Surjit Tour is a senior manager. I see no problem with publishing with exercising my editorial discretion to publish response received which is below (along with a link to the attachment sent also).

      from: Tour, Surjit <>
      date: 30 September 2014 at 17:08
      subject: RE: Lyndale School Cabinet decision (4th September 2014)

      Dear Mr Brace

      Further to the above matter, please find attached the Council’s response to your Pre-Action Protocol letter.

      Yours sincerely

      Surjit Tour
      Head of Legal & Member Services and Monitoring Officer
      Department of Transformation and Resources
      Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
      Town Hall
      Brighton Street
      CH44 8ED

      Tel: 0151 691 8569
      Fax: 0151 691 8482

      Visit our website:

      —–Original Message—–
      From: John Brace []
      Sent: 08 September 2014 18:09
      To: Tour, Surjit
      Cc: Davies, Phil L. (Councillor); Smith, Tony A. (Councillor); Mooney, Bernadette M. (Councillor); Whittingham, Stuart (Councillor); Meaden, Chris C. (Councillor); Jones, Christine M. (Councillor); Jones, Adrian ER. (Councillor); Davies, George (Councillor); Hackett, Pat (Councillor); Hassall, Julia E.
      Subject: Lyndale School Cabinet decision (4th September 2014)

      Dear all,

      Please find attached letter to this email about the recent Cabinet decision about Lyndale School following the pre application protocol before judicial review laid down in the Civil Procedure Rules.


      John Brace

      Printed, published and promoted by John Brace, all at Jenmaleo, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, Wirral, CH43 7PH

      This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.

      This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept by MIMEsweeper for the presence of computer viruses.

      There is an attached file (Response to Protocol Letter (Mr Brace) 30th September 2014) which I link to here.

  2. G’day John

    Their ex-local rubbish propaganda sheet

    Councillor Lewis is no shrinking violet himself as has led several stinging attacks against the Labour-run authority.

    Lets see John if he pipes up on the Wirral “Funny” Bizz, BIG, ISUS and Working Neighbourhoods cover up and £2,000,000.00 knock off?



    Not holding my breath John.

    • I would suspect such matters will be left to whoever the Conservative spokesperson is on the Audit and Risk Management Committee, although there is nothing to stop you contacting Cllr Ian Lewis directly if you wish. Wirral Council councillors next week will be deciding who is on what committee for the next year.

      The Conservative spokesperson on the Audit and Risk Management Committee is currently Cllr John Hale who I remember didn’t seem particularly supportive of your concerns at the last two special meetings of the Audit and Risk Management Committee that discussed the issue.

      In order to not appear to be favouring one party or another in the lead up to a general election, I will point out that there are Labour councillors, a Lib Dem councillor and Conservative councillors on that Committee.

      However councillors have yet to formally decide who is on that Committee for the next year, but will do so next Tuesday evening (16th May 2017).

  3. Thank you for Mr Tours reply to your email, perhaps you could comments on his lengthy response. Thanks in advance cheers Jonathan Hardaker.

    • It probably makes more sense when read in conjunction with my original letter to him.

      I’ll briefly comment on each page of his reply though.

      Page 1 – this is just mainly factual information
      Page 2 – I disagree with some of this. Especially the more political parts.
      Page 3 – this is just factual information.
      Page 4 – this is just factual information.
      Page 5 – para 9.7 doesn’t deal with the fact that the Regulations 9(e), 9(f) and 9(g) require this information to be published 28 days before the Cabinet meeting whereas the publishing Wirral Council refers to was only 5 days before the Cabinet meeting.
      Page 5 (and part of 6) – It was (and still is) a legal requirement that the education overview and scrutiny committee had between two and five parent governors, a representative of the Catholic diocese and a representative of the Anglican diocese. Wirral Council is basically saying the education scrutiny committee at the time didn’t have the people on it required by law, but disagrees with my interpretation of whether the Cabinet should in those circumstances.
      Page 6 – interestingly Wirral Council refers to their constitution which raises a further argument I didn’t make then that due to the lack of representation on the education scrutiny committee by the Anglican Diocese, that further consultation should’ve taken place with this body.
      Page 6 – is an acknowledgement that there is a failure to comply with the legal requirements, but Wirral Council are basically saying it isn’t their fault
      Page 7 – the right to education has been used in previous cases (the case law) referred to, however, some statements of special educational needs now called Education, Health and Care plans used to specify a specific school.
      Page 7 and 8 – It had been argued throughout the consultation that the combination of the poor health of the children at Lyndale who would be subject to transfer before secondary school age to a different school could potentially have serious and deterimental effects on their health.
      Page 7 – Wirral Council arguing that taking disabled children away from teachers, teaching assistants and friends they’ve known for years will not cause “physical or mental suffering” perhaps states a lot about Wirral Council’s attitude and why OFSTED rated them the way they did!
      Page 7 – Wirral Council is not allowed to close a school merely to punish the parents of the children for causing a political fuss, many of the children at Lyndale were born with the disabilities they have therefore are a protected minority.
      Page 7-8 – This is an acknowledgement that whatever school the Lyndale children were moved to, Wirral Council would spend less (on a per a child basis) then they had at Lyndale as they would redistribute funding between multiple schools. However any “budget surplus” they refer to has to be balanced against the costs of running a multi-phase consultation, Cabinet meetings, reports etc.

      The Lyndale Staff (this is from memory) were apart from one all female. Which is a protected characteristic. This point was then mentioned in a later Cabinet report. As far as I remember the EIAs to this point hadn’t considered the gender of the staff that would lose their jobs.

      The rest of the letter is variations on a theme and there was also disagreement that the SEN Improvement Test could be met too.

      However I am neither staff at Lyndale, nor parent and although I responded to the consultation. The Chair of Governors at Lyndale School Tom Harney told the school not to respond to my request for information following this letter, so I couldn’t (or had insufficient information) to take the matter any further (unfortunately). The parents came to the same decision about not challenging the closure decision by way of judicial review too.

  4. G’day John

    Is that old fool still on the clowncil?

    How very dare he to expect “Highbrow” to apologise the stupid old goat.



    Talk about past your use by date……………..

    • G’day Again

      That old fool probably thought “Crabapple” was doing a top job.



      No wonder wirral is where it is.