School not up to standard

IN response to Bill O Connor s letter (January 31), your readers may find the following observations and corrections helpful. Ofsted s evaluation of current practice at the school was highly critical. This was in line with our judgment, which had been reg

IN response to Bill O'Connor's letter (January 31), your readers may find the following observations and corrections helpful.

Ofsted's evaluation of current practice at the school was highly critical. This was in line with our judgment, which had been regularly drawn to the attention of the headteacher and in a formal way reported to the governing body in July 2006. It is unfortunate that this was not acted upon at the time.

Mr O'Connor is, however, correct in suggesting that there are a wide range of people responsible. Provision at the school has not come up to the standard that parents and carers have a reasonable right to expect. All involved with supporting the school, including the local authority, should consider the findings with due humility and focus on seeking substantial and immediate improvements in Spring Common.

As Helen Whiter explained at the parents' meeting, when a school receives a negative judgment, the local authority always reviews the action it took and considers whether it should have done more or taken different action. Given the strong emphasis on local management and local autonomy, this is not always a straightforward business. No doubt Mr O'Connor, as a member of staff until 2004, is well aware of these points but has chosen to ignore them here.

The local authority is giving strong support to the current leadership and governing body and fully expects the school to emerge from the additional scrutiny of special measures revitalised.

We struggle to understand the points being made by Mr O'Connor with regard to school budget arrangements, as these are delegated matters. Spring Common's finances are in good health and the school's budget will increase in 2007/08.

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It has been a very difficult budget round for county council services, but there have been no reductions in the resources for frontline services within children's services. Mr O'Connor is also inaccurate in that point.

We look forward to working with the staff and governing body at the school to ensure provision of the highest quality.

An unsupported assertion that the council has thrown away tens of thousands of pounds (no evidence provided) cannot go unchallenged.

We look forward to Mr O'Connor's support in promoting the best interests of the school and for him to follow his own advice.

Councillor SHONA JOHNSTONE, Cabinet member for children and young people's services

GORDON JEYES. Deputy chief executive, children and young people's services, Cambridgeshire County Council

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