Coffee House

Yet again, Labour’s self-serving efforts to block The King’s School merger have failed

26 July 2013

Labour’s war against The King’s School merger continues to be fought fruitlessly, despite rebuttal after rebuttal from the Department of Education. As first reported in the Spectator two weeks ago, Michael Gove has signed off funding for the independent King’s School and state Priory Primary School in Tynemouth to merge into the new Kings Priory Academy. North Tyneside Council are not happy with Gove’s decision and decided to call an ‘Extraordinary Council Meeting’ last week to decide what to do next.

Like many of the school wars in Britain, Labour’s response has been a bureaucratic one. If they can keep the indecision rolling until September, the new academy would be delayed and possibly never open. The council therefore wrote to the DoE, urging them to reconsider their decision.

Following the council’s letter, Lord Nash has written to the Woodard Academies Trust — proposed owner of the new Kings Priory Academy — to inform them the funding is safe and as far as he is concerned, the plans will go ahead. Coffee House has a copy of the letter sent today:

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As reported in the Newcastle Chronicle, the council are chiefly worried about protecting their school empire. They predict if King’s moves into the state sector, parents may no longer want to send their children to council-prescribed secondaries in the area, instead choosing the best possible school. New and better schooling places are not something North Tyneside Council appears to favour.

If there is any doubt whether the fight is politically motivated, one simply has to examine who is leading the charge. Councillor Ian Grayson, responsible for education in North Tyneside, is also a local NUT official, the teaching union who are coincidentally striking later this year in opposition to Gove’s reforms. The BBC are now on Grayson’s case, examining this potential conflict of interest. This is what Radio Newcastle had to say on the matter this morning:

It appears Grayson has not been entirely transparent about his dual roles. One parent explained there have been at least two council meetings where Grayson has failed to declare any potential conflict of interest over the new academy. He declined to be interviewed by Radio Newcastle today, stating he has already adequately explained why his union role has no impact on his councillor role.

It’s staggering that someone so ideologically opposed to academies is still publicly arguing the plans should be scrapped. Hopefully, Grayson and North Tyneside Council will now accept the merger is the best thing for the borough’s children. Their only remaining option is to instigate a full judicial review — which would be costly, a waste of time and most importantly, detrimental to education provisions in North Tyneside. With parents, the local community and both schools backing the Kings Priory Academy, Labour appears to be still fighting the merger purely for its own benefit.

UPDATE: Here is the full letter Lord Nash has sent to North Tyneside Council, outlining why the Department of Education has not changed their mind on supporting the merger:

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Show comments
  • anyfool

    No matter how badly Labour behave, no matter that they have presided for generations in the poorest and most deprived areas across the country, no matter that in thirteen years of the last Labour government all of these poor areas remained just that, the mindless unthinking tribe will still vote for them, no matter that Labour transferred all their jobs to a new voting block “immigrants legal and illegal”, no matter that the Labour party even gave the housing stock in their areas to the new vote, these people still think they are getting a caring council who will look after them.

  • Peter Stroud

    This example of left wing, NUT supported, political self serving behaviour by N Tyneside council needs to be given nation wide publicity. Voters need to be reminded that with most Labour controlled councils, and the NUT are motivated by Socialist dogma, and certainly not by improving teaching standards. Labour’s education policies are in tatters. We certainly do not want more of the regressive education policies, that we suffered under Brown.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Kings has been one of our least effective public schools for a least 20 years. However Grayson’s state enforced mediocrity is doing an even worse job.

    My previous post was censored by the Spec bedwetters so let me put it this way. North Tyneside and NUT winkers are working their cancerous nuts off to prevent the situation being improved.

  • MikeS

    The merits of the author’s arguments are somewhat diminished by his inability to write correctly. There are a number of occasions where he cites single, corporate organisations followed by “are” or “were”.

    • Greenslime

      Pedantry is never more annoying than when it is entirely nugatory.

      Why don’t you go and find something useful to do – like walk the cat?

  • David B

    It’s the insistence that the interests of the NUT be put infront of the interests of the pupils that is the worst aspects of Labour campaign to stop this new school

    • McRobbie

      Dont stop at the NUT, look at unite and the falkirk scandal, look at bob crow,soroko, scargill. Every union misleader tries to stop progress…we all know where the word luddites came from…unions preventing modernisation and improvements. And the madder elements of the left are increasingly influencing labour party policy.

      • Andy

        Which is why we should start and attack the power of the unions in the public sector. We can start by making the unions pay for the time people spend on union duties, like Grayson. We could also stop any union official standing for elected office, as there is a quite clear conflict of interest in this case. I don’t see how you can be an employee of a Local Authority and also sit on the Council of a Local Authority, even if it is a different area. So lets get the Council back in the hands of the people.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Because he is a socialist and has therefore no concept of honesty and decency.

      • Greenslime

        Don’t use the blunderbuss approach, it weakens your argument.

        You may dislike Crow’s politics but you can’t argue that he is not honest and up-front about his intentions. I don’t think you could accuse him of stuffing ballot boxes or buying votes. I think Sowhatcuts is of a similar ilk. I believe they are honest individuals who are fighting for a cause which they believe passionately in.

        The reason that they are in positions of power is, mainly, the apathy of most middle of the road workers – they just can’t be bothered to vote. And because the sums are so small, most of them just can’t be bothered (or can’t be bothered with the hassle it could potentially cause) to opt out of the political levy.

        The fact that I (and, clearly, you) think that they are wrong does not remove their right to believe what they do – and to evangelise accordingly.

        Accept the laws who lobby to have them changed but don’t whinge about the victors who win fair and square under the rules as they stand.

  • Julieann Carter

    We have a good measure of what Mr Gove is about now, so if he endorses it then it’s got to be a good move forward. I trust both his judgement and his vocation.

    • Robert_Eve

      Spot on.

    • HookesLaw

      Education is going to be a problem for labour in 2015.

      • Andy

        Yes, well, we should give them more of it then shouldn’t we.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      Me too Julieann. Evey time Gove agrees to a constructive move such as this, Labour is exposed as a bureaucratic, ideologically hidebound repository for mediocrity, failure and self-interest that cares nothing for the improvement of educational standards. Keep sticking to them often and hard Mr Gove!

  • MP

    Kings is a FAILING school. Were it good enough to attract fee paying students, it would not be £5m in debt. This merger has been proposed only to prevent King’s from going under.
    North Tyneside has two schools that are about half full. Adding an extra school into the mix WILL see one of them close. These schools are not heavily in debt, and are not in areas well served by other schools. They are, however, vital hubs to their local communities.This is why the council (quite rightly) are trying to prevent this destructive merger going ahead.

    • James Randall

      £5m in debt? How have you come up with that?

      • MP

        It was front page news on the Newcastle Journal. 20th June.

        • James Randall

          Ah, an article which seems to have been ‘written’ by the same Council that’s trying to prevent the merger to take place. I assume you have actually done some research and looked at the school’s accounts?

          • HookesLaw

            And lets remember that the press consider themselves above independent regulation.

        • fantasy_island

          And “Elvis is alive” was front page news on the Sunday Sport.

    • BullDancer

      Not true and this lie was comprehensively debunked on a previous blog. Why do the left always resort to lies and misinformation in order to pursue their child damaging ideology?

      • Colonel Mustard

        “Why do the left always resort to lies and misinformation”

        Because the Labour party is the party of lies, lying and liars. God knows why any sane person votes for them.

        • BullDancer

          And no apology from the labour troll MP who obviously set up a Disqus account just to spread his smear on this piece. I thought Fraser promised to keep this scum away?

          • HookesLaw

            Yes and well done to you for rebutting it. But sadly its all to easy to peddle this sort of stuff.

          • MP

            I have no fondness for Labour. I am a North Tyneside resident who is rightly concerned about an unjustified merger that will have a huge effect across the borough. As for the finances, do you really think King’s would consider a merger if it was wealthy enough to remain fee paying?

            • BullDancer

              I haven’t the faintest idea why they would want to but a large number of independent schools are becoming academies. I note you do not apologise for the misinformation. I also note that your only posts are the 3 on this piece, and I just don’t believe you.

            • James Randall

              Where do you get the idea that King’s is short of funds from?

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            Socialism is a bacteria and a disease and so despite Fraser’s best efforts it is difficult to stop Labour scum spreading their lies.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Agreed in principle Colonel but this is a gross underestimation of the dishonesty, meaness and disingenuousness of the Labour Party.

    • fantasy_island

      North Tyneside is a failing authority, external debts stand at £502,000,000.00 so whats your point.

      Unlike you by the way I will substantiate the comment with a link first paragraph, click on figures.

      The sitting MP for Tynemouth, Alan Campbell is an ex grammar school boy. Classic labour tactic, pull the ladder up after you.

    • telemachus associates

      Govian Educational Social Darwinism
      What happens to the children in the sink schools in the few years it takes for the schools to close?

      • telemackus

        We are quite correct. The communist Gove is deliberately selling off our best independent schools to the highest bidder. His ideological improvement of our childrens education at the expense of the teachers unions that saved us against Thacherite aggression in the last war is folly and must be stopoed. Eek.

        • Andy

          Bollocks. Lets destroy the teaching unions. They are busy destroying the lives of our children.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Hilarious. Gove is doing his best to free Britain’s education system from the ‘dead hand’ of socialism and its dishonest, self-interested practitioners.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Who cares?

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      “Will see one of them Close”. Good clear out the rubbish and keep scouring the obnoxious, dishonest, sanctimonious filth of socialism from the face of Britain and its education system. The council is trying to prevent this merger because it represents a loss of power and influence and childrens education can go hang. Spare us your loathsome disingenuous nonsense and spend your energies with the other leftist headbangers at Labour List etc.

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