Wednesday 5 February 2014

Select Committee Overturns Tories' Sulivan School Closure Plan And Sends It Back For Borough's Cabinet To Explain Serious Discrepancies

The Special Education and Children’s Services Select Committee met this morning to reconsider the Conservative cabinet’s decision to close Sulivan Primary SchoolThe committee overturned the decision by majority of 7 to 6. It was the first time in Hammersmith and Fulham Council's history a Select Committee has ever done that.

The Borough's Conservative Cabinet will now meet at a hastily arranged Special Cabinet Meeting on 10th February where they are obliged to review the following recommendation and the papers submitted with it: 

"The Cabinet recognises the valuable contribution that Sulivan Primary School makes within its community and, in light of the various responses to the borough consultation, recommends:
  1. that Sulivan school remains open and is supported by the local authority until the school becomes self-governing
  2. that the Local Authority continues to support New Kings School on its journey to academy status
  3. that the Local Authority offers its support to Fulham Boys School in finding a suitable alternative site for their school
  4. that the Local Authority notes the significant flaws in the evidence used to make its original decision and in the decision making process as set out in this document.
  5. that the Local Authority notes and takes account of the further evidence submitted in this document"
This is a small victory for the children, parents and teachers battling to save their wonderful Sulivan Primary School. The Conservative Administration now needs to come clean and explain why it is being so underhand in its determination to shut this school.

Consider that today's meeting was arranged after Conservative councillors privately consulted with each other to make sure they could all make this quickly arranged date and highly unusual 10.00am start - a time when no Select Committee has ever met before. And they actually instructed officials not to consult any independent co-opted or Opposition committee members to see if they might be able to attend. It is evident that the Conservatives were trying to fix the vote on this meeting in a way that, apart from being shoddy, stretches the legal boundaries of how a local authority is meant to operate. Unsurprisingly all the Conservative committee members were there.

But as the meeting started cabinet members Councillors Georgie Cooney (Con) and Helen Binmore (Con) and committee chair Cllr. Donald Johnson (Con) were all visibly stressed to see all the independent co-opted committee members and Labour's three committee members sitting there waiting to take a full part in the proceedings. Everyone supporting the school was therefore deeply grateful to Eleanor Allen, Michele Barrett, Sue Fennimore, Nadia Taylor, Philippa O'Driscoll, Cllr Caroline Needham, (Lab), Cllr Elaine Chumnery (Lab) and Cllr Mercy Umeh (Lab) who managed to change their schedules, take days off work and be there with the least possible notice.

Residents will now be able to make a deputation to next week's cabinet meeting. To do that they must fill in this paper which should be emailed here by 12.00pm Friday 7th February 2014 and not a minute afterwards.

1 comment:

L said...

Great news and many thanks to all the councillors and committee members who voted to right an injustice! I clicked on the link to fill in the paper but it just leads me to the blogger website - is the link correct?