Educating Peterborough - no more excuses please!

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -
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The secret to great comedy is timing. But there was nothing remotely funny about the publication of Peterborough latest SATS results coming the day after the long awaited review into education into the city.

The report with its platitudes and soundbites was underwhelming.

Cllr Lynne Ayres, who has inherited responsibilty for this sorry mess, says the city is facing a ‘perfect storm’ of issues. While I accept the city faces significant challenges –much of it brought on by an aggressive growth agenda that I can’t recall being asked to vote on – I can not accept that other authorities who are performing much better don’t face similar difficulties.

Talk of uniting, working together and focussing is just that. Talk.

Is anybody seriously suggesting the relevant groups weren’t working together to give our children the best education possible? And if they are, then name the guilty parties.

The latest SATS results were a disgrace. The city was second bottom out of 150 local authorities. I’ll let that sink in. That’s 149th out of 150.

True, the results have improved but they are so far from not good enough they are not even on the right page.

Don’t take my word for it. Tory MP Shailesh Vara said: “These results are appalling and no amount of excuses can justify them.’’

And he too questions why other places cope better with the alleged problems caused by migration.

He adds: “Those responsible need to stop coming up with excuses and explanations and instead recognise the great disservice being done to local children and parents.’’

I don’t believe children in Peterborough are less intelligent than elsewhere. I don’t believe teachers in Peterborough are less able or dedicated than elsewhere.

So we need a plan, we need it to be managed, we need it to be resourced.

And as for timing, we need it yesterday. I’m not joking.