Calls for education chief to step down

Cllr John Holdich EMN-151130-162539009
Cllr John Holdich EMN-151130-162539009
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Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson has led calls for Cllr John Holdich to step down from his education post after the city finished bottom of national league tables for SATS results.

Tables released by the Department for Education showed just 39 per cent of pupils reached the expected standard by the end of primary school.

Conservative candidates at Town HallConservative candidates at Town Hall Stewart Jackson EMN-150804-162046009

Conservative candidates at Town HallConservative candidates at Town Hall Stewart Jackson EMN-150804-162046009

Mr Jackson said Cllr Holdich, who along with his role as Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and University and Communications is the leader of the council, should consider reducing his work load.

He said:” Perhaps he needs to say we need to look at this with a fresh pair of eyes.

“Education is a big job, and maybe we should have a cabinet member for schools alone, as well as college, university etc. It is a massive job, and we are drifting. It is very bad for the city.”

Labour Cllr Ed Murphy agreed, and said: “This poor performance in Peterborough cannot continue and we should look to letting another more competent education authority run the service.

Shailesh Vara

Shailesh Vara

“School performance in Peterborough has been too poor for too many years and the Cabinet member responsible for education Council lor Holdich should now resign over the matter and let somebody more capable take over.”

And Liberal Democrat cllr Darren Fower added: “I’ve said it before - cllr Holdich should step down from his education role. It is very disappointing to see these SATS results. Parents will be asking what is going on.”

Defending his position, Cllr Holdich, in his fifth year as cabinet member for education, said he believed he had the support of schools across the city and would not be standing aside.

He said: “I think its very poor of them to make such statements when they haven’t even bothered to come and find out what the situation really is in this city. Then, if they want to go away and talk about reservations, then that is fair enough.

“I believe my record stands on its own, and I believe the record of my officers stands on its own, and the record of my schools stands on its own.”

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara added: “These results are simply not good enough. Urgent work is required to get to the root of the problem to start the recovery. I have already spoken with Cllr John Holdich but this is not about one person waving a magic wand.”

See interview with John Holdich on Pages 6&7