Argyll & Bute Council has a project that it claims will empower our educators by creating clusters of schools.
The details were at at www.empoweringoureducators.co.uk but this site is now closed, which isn’t very helpful. The consultation part could have been closed and the content left…..
However, I saved the initial presentation and this can be downloaded below.
There has been a lot of concern about this in various communities across Argyll & Bute, not least that details were scant and, in many ways, the presentation posed more questions than it provided by way of answers.
FOIs by community groups, parent groups and individuals now appear to paint an altogether different picture from what is in the download above.
Myself and another member of South Cowal Community Council, Alan Stewart, went through the FOI files and compiled a document, with our covering page and after that the project brief the council originally devised. This can be read below. You will see that if you compare what is in this to the document above, there are marked differences.
The questions raised now are many, but perhaps the main ones are:
1 Why did the council not provide this information until they were forced to by way of FOIs?
2 Why does this new information seem to be so much at odds with what was stated publicly?
3 Who knew about this information all along? The really big element of this is what councillors knew about this and when did they know?
4 In particular, did the policy lead for education, Cllr McNeilly, know about this all along and if she did, why did she not make this public? If she didn’t know about it, did council officers mislead her and, if so, what happens now?
In their submission to the council, STAND Agency stated the following:
In some ways this is remarkable. “Drive acceptance” is hardly compatible with local democracy. You win arguments by the strength of them, not by paid propaganda. Is it right and proper for council officers to spend public money on an agency in order to influence elected members of the council? Really?
The key issue for me is trust. Trust has been eroded for many years with this council, especially over education. This makes things much worse.