Lyndale School Consultation branded “white-wash” & 1 officer is singled out for criticism for lack of impartiality

Lyndale School Consultation branded “white-wash” & 1 officer is singled out for criticism for lack of impartiality

Lyndale School Consultation branded “white-wash” & 1 officer is singled out for criticism for lack of impartiality

                           

Phil Ward (Wirral Council's SEN Lead) at a later meeting of Wirral Schools Forum 2nd July 2014
Phil Ward (Wirral Council’s SEN Lead) at a later meeting of Wirral Schools Forum 2nd July 2014

Lyndale School has of course made the news again, as the “high level notes” of the six consultation meetings have been published in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The concept that these “high level notes” should actually be used as part of the decision-making process is an interesting one.

I was at one of the six consultation meetings so I looked at the “notes” for that one and compared it to my own notes, transcript of the first hour (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8) and an audio recording of what actually happened.

As Tom Harney (the Chair of governors at Lyndale School) himself said at that actual meeting in relation to another matter “it’s amazing the things that go on”. He was also one of the few speakers at that meeting to get applause. The comments made by Cllr Paul Hayes (a Conservative councillor who if I remember correctly was also present at that same meeting) about the consultation process as reported in their local paper were very critical of the way the consultation process and that meeting was handled.

As I’ve mentioned the Conservative and Lib Dem positions, I should mention that the only Labour councillor I recognised at the meeting (Cabinet Member for Childrens’ Services Cllr Tony Smith) arrived late. It is of course extremely difficult to describe what the Labour position is on Lyndale School other than being pro closure consultation, telling the public that they have an open mind and that no decision has been made yet. A decision is expected on the 4th September on the next stage. The point that Labour are keen to make is not for Labour to do things that would give the impression that they have made their mind up. This was again made at the July Council meeting by Councillor Tony Smith and Councillor Phil Davies.

So in the words of a Wirral Council officer Phil Ward what was the purpose of these notes about the meetings? Phil Ward said “They’re notes recording the high level points raised at the meetings and importantly we will be reporting them to Cabinet.”

I had a look through the notes for the one question I asked in the two-hour meeting (something is there but it bears little resemblance to what I asked). It wasn’t there in any form that resembles what I asked