Closing a secondary school is a big deal, right? It damn well should be.
And when people think democracy and politics doesn’t matter, or is too far removed from anything that affects them personally, they should witness tomorrow lunchtime’s Leicester City Council cabinet meeting.
The meeting is likely to be the latest nail in the coffin of Riverside College. Councillors are asked to vote that the public is consulted on its closure. In effect they are signing its death warrant and there’s nothing that the people who will undoubtedly turn up to protest can do about it.
I spoke to Geoff Over on Friday. He’s Riverside’s chairman of governors, a quietly spoken, polite, impressive retired teacher, who taught at Riverside when it was still Rowley Fields Secondary School. He feels he and his Riverside colleagues haven’t been listened to. He understands the business decision behind the proposed closure but is frustrated that some of the arguments for it are based on flimsy evidence. When people like those have those feelings, democracy isn’t working properly.
Meanwhile, up the road in Braunstone, David Kershaw, the superman-style emergency head teacher of Fullhurst College tries to haul it out of special measures, having done the same at New College, in New Parks, three years ago. Last week Ofsted inspectors checked the place out for the first time since he arrived and their verdict will be officially revealed soon.
From what I hear it went well, but this will be of little comfort to Riverside’s supporters who can’t understand why the council is so eager to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on a “failing” school, while shutting a school whose standards are OK.
See you for a stormy meeting at the Town Hall tomorrow.