Suffolk Primary Heads point out the County Council has no clothes on!

Sue Cook, SCC's Head of Children and Young
People's services has a social work background
Time after time I have heard the view expressed in Suffolk that Suffolk County Council should get its own house in order before criticising schools. This would often follow yet another demoralising letter from or speech made by someone in the county.

Suggestions that schools need to work harder and are failing children are frequently made but despite a damning report from Ofsted about its school improvement service the County Council never seems to think to first look at itself before criticising others.

Finally yesterday a group of Suffolk primary headteachers pointed out that the emperor has no clothes on. In their vote of no confidence in Suffolk County Council's education service they articulated what pretty much everyone has been saying in private for months.

Led by former social worker Sue Cook the education service has adopted an increasingly hostile approach to schools and teachers culminating in the "red letters" Cook has sent to schools deemed to be under performing.

Despite the positive sounding Raising the Bar initiative Suffolk's response to its Ofsted failings seems to be increasingly negative.

The same council that is giving schools 15 days to come up with an action plan in response to its red letters has incredibly completely ignored suggestions from school leaders as to how to improve its own services.

The solution as the Suffolk Primary Heads say is simple. A change from a culture of blame in Suffolk to one of collaboration and support.

This certainly means schools should be prepared to listen and act on constructive criticism from the County but the County must do the same and it must start in its response to this vote of no confidence.

Sometimes your best friends are those who are prepared to tell you what everyone else is thinking and whispering behind your back!
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