Monday, 20 December 2010

Culverhay School

Good meeting with parents and others this morning to discuss possible ways to challenge the Council Cabinet on their Culverhay decision. We are determined to get lots of comment in to the final part of the consultation process and have not given up the fight to save Culverhay yet despite the flood of propoganda from Cllr Watt and the team extolling the reorganisation of the secondary schools in Bath.
Closing Culverhay and denying the community of the SW of Bath an opportunity for co-educational education is quite simply an appalling decision and one that must be reversed.
The Overview and scrutiny dismissed the call-in of the cabinet decision using the Chair's casting vote. During the course of the panel some very indescrete comments were made by one of the Conservative Councillors on the panel.
This is what the head sent out to the school community:-
Dear Colleagues
 
Last night at the Guildhall, the Overview and Scrutiny Panel for Children’s Services met to consider a motion, calling in the decision to proceed with the closure of Culverhay. Despite representations from a succession of speakers on behalf of the school, the call-in motion was dismissed. The Panel split on party political lines, with three Conservative members and a representative of the Anglican Diocese of Bath and Wells voting against the motion and three Lib Dems and the Chair of the Labour Group voting for. As the vote was tied, the Chair exercised her casting vote, to reject the motion.
 
During the meeting, one of the Councillors made a statement which many of us in the Council Chamber found completely outrageous about the school and I will be writing to him formally to challenge this.
 
The net effect of this is that a ‘Statutory Closure’ notice will appear in ‘The Chronicle’ tomorrow and a summary notice will be delivered to school, which I understand will have to be posted on the school gates. There follows a six week period in which to make further representations against the decision, before a decision is made on whether to proceed with closure. I believe this is called a ‘Single Member decision’ and understand that it rests exclusively with Chris Watt.
 
As soon as I know how the process works, I will update you on how and to whom the representations should be made. I understand that once the decision is finalised after six weeks, probably on 27th January 2011, there will be a further call-in of the decision, which will further delay final implementation. Running alongside this is the possibility of a legal challenge to the process, which could lead to a judicial review of the decision-making process, which has been followed. Sean W will be able to keep all of us updated on progress with this.
 
Despite this latest setback, I would like to thank everyone for your contributions to the fantastic Challenge Day today – another example of how you all go that extra mile to provide a wide range of opportunities for the boys. We have not closed yet and I know you will keep the standards as high as ever. Try not to worry too much and please make sure you give yourselves a proper break over Christmas.
 
Best regards
 
Richard

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