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Secret report blows up in officials' faces
3:57pm Thursday 26th September 2013 in Skipper
If last month’s Ofsted report had said that King Charles school was “outstanding,” then officials at Cornwall Council, and Heather Taylor, would be patting themselves on the back and congratulating each other. Parents would have nothing to complain about. Their primary concern is for the education of their children, rather than any ideological problems with privatisation.
But the council’s decision to keep secret the report of its 2010 inquiry was a time-bomb which has now blown up in the face of officials, school governors, the Church of England and even Education Secretary Michael Gove – all of whom are now left with nothing to say, except to blame each other.
No-one can say for certain if any individual teacher was responsible for the failure of any individual pupil. But scores of parents now have legitimate questions to ask, and those questions demand answers. This is an issue which goes well beyond King Charles school in Falmouth. Just how big is the private sector’s hold in Cornwall’s classrooms? We should not be surprised if Michael Gove is ideologically-wedded to privatisation, but in any other sector there would be a scrutiny regime to reassure us about effective supervision and quality-control.
The council should now order another inquiry – but this time it should be open and transparent. It should demand to know why the first inquiry was kept secret, when it was so obviously in the public interest that it should have been published immediately. It should include a forensic audit of teaching supply companies, whose services should be ranked in league tables just as schools themselves are forced to compete in league tables.
The details of Heather Taylor’s current status should also be made clear. Neither she nor the council will say if she has resigned, been dismissed or is still employed. If taxpayers are continuing to pay her wages, they are entitled to know why.