This morning I attending CYPOS (Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee) to listen to the discussion about the proposed closure of Ewing School. The Lib Dems had “called in” the decision made by Labour Executive Members because we were very unhappy about the consultation for the closure, and the failure of the Council to take into consideration the concerns raised by the Health Service.
I was amazed how little Labour Councillors knew about Ewing School, and one by one they tried to claim that closure of Ewing was the only way to ensure inclusion. They seem to have conveniently forgotten that Ewing has won awards for inclusion and that 38% of the children that go to Ewing have already been failed by mainstream. The Council officers couldn’t even answer the question when they were asked how many Ewing pupils had been in mainstream schools and had to leave and come to Ewing, so how can they possibly know that the new provision will be adequate for their education needs?
All bar one of the co-opted members of the committee abstained on the vote for closure. The only person who did not was Julie Reed, who claimed to represent Manchester parents on the committee. She defended the decision of the Labour Councillors and even shook her head when Cllr Marc Ramsbottom described Ewing as an excellent school, even though this is the view of Ofsted.
All the way through the meeting the Labour Chair of the Committee, Cllr Alistair Cox, tried to stifle debate, and he even tried to stop East Didsbury Lib Dem Councillor David Sandiford from moving an amendment, and he had to be reminded by the Committee clerk that he was not allowed to do this.
The whole debate was a sham, with Labour councillors towing the party line, and ignoring the concerns of parents, teachers and Governors. Every single Labour Councillor voted to close the school. This is the scrutiny system at its worst.