Saturday, 6 September 2014

Crawley Observer Column 3rd September 2014

This week in my Crawley Observer column which is below the picture, I have written about the new school year and welcomed the opening of Crawley's newest school, The Gatwick School, which opens this coming Monday the 8th of September.
Logo of The Gatwick School - Crawley's newest school 
"This week sees the start of the new school year. It is an exciting time for pupils and teachers alike, with the foundations being laid for a forthcoming year of learning and development. I do not underestimate the positive impact that schools can have both for our children and for society as a whole. Good schools are an enabler for social mobility and I doubt anyone argues against seeking to maximise the academic potential of every child.
Overall, the August exam results in Crawley schools were encouraging and heading in the right direction, with some schools having their best results ever. Historically in Crawley, academic attainment has not always been as high as we would like and this can limit the realisation of aspiration. As an elected representative of the Conservative party, I view both aspiration and attainment for our children as vitally important and I am always willing to do anything I can to support those involved in delivering education.

As far as education is concerned, my political view is simply not to bring political ideology as to how education is delivered. For me, what matters is what works and what is best for our children. As a Borough and County Councillor and as leader of one of the two political groups on the Borough Council, I view being supportive of our local schools as essential.
Therefore, I was staggered to read the Labour column in last week’s Observer where the leader of Crawley Borough Council was critical of the new Gatwick School before it has even opened. Being the local West Sussex County Councillor for the area where the school is located made these critical remarks worse.

While I accept it is fine to have a political view on the concept of Free Schools, I believe it is fundamentally wrong for a senior councillor to publicly undermine any local school. The Gatwick School is a valuable addition to education in Crawley, is offering parental choice and is helping with pressure on school places. As Crawley’s newest school, I wish them every success for the new academic year."

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