Beyton site described as "shabby, expensive, second best!"

I am not sure if Cllr Joanna Spicer took fellow free school advocate Toby Young's book How to Lose Friends and Alienate People on her Summer holidays to read?

Not content with making disparaging remarks about Thurston Community College she has also said of the proposed Beyton annexe site site (which is the present Beyton Middle School) "The Beyton annex is a shabby, expensive, second best!" 

Indeed she described the Thurston partnership plan in general as: "misjudged and too influenced by schools self interests"

She even threatened to actively campaign against the plans until she was able to convince Graham Newman to put more emphasis on the free school plans.

So what is this self-interest then? In the case of the Primary Schools the proposal is simply that they would continue taking children for an extra two years in years 5 and 6. In doing so they would become like pretty much every single other primary school in the country. In several cases the increase in size would help to ensure they actually survived by making them more viable. If this is "self-interest" then it is, in my view, an enlightened self-interest.

For Thurston it simply takes children two years younger in Year 7. Again like the overwhealming majority of secondary schools. The split site proposal hardly seems in the schools self-interest as I am sure it would rather invest in its existing site if it could.

I do however wonder how in touch Cllr Spicer is with school's in her division. Back in June Graham Newman reported of a conversation with her that:
She assures me that her 7 primaries are on side (which of course are a minority of the Thurston feeders) and the Middles are not wanting to fight over it. However there is concern about all the secondary capacity going to Beyton/Thurston and is wanting - for community reasons - an 11-16 school at Ixworth or Stanton.
The idea that Middle Schools "did not want a fight" has been shown to be completely untrue as they have perhaps understandably battled for survival and indeed the head teacher of Ixworth Middle will still not accept the move to two tier.

Cllr Joanna Spicer
To me the Thurston partnership schools have acted in the interests of their children and are motivated by a desire to provide as good an education as they can for them given their resources. People may question proposals such as the Beyton annexe but to suggest the motivation behind the proposals is self-interest is in my view completely wrong.

If there is self-interest it appears to be elsewhere and particularly amongst the politicians involved.

Interestingly Cllr Spicer promised in her 2009 election manifesto to:

"continue to champion and support village primary schools"

In the end she has ended up threatening to campaign against the Thurston partnership proposals supported by all of the primary schools in her division and suggesting they are acting out of self-interest. I fail to see this as championing and support.

Tomorrow I will complete my series of blogs about the freedom of information request and explore the question of just who will be running the school and where it will be located. I will also publish all of the material I received from the FOI on the Wikisuffolk website.

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