Get A Grip: Conservative Councillors consider campaign successful despite Parents Protest


Handing in Get A Grip petition

East Sussex County Council continues to reject calls from parents and Lib Dems to withdraw a 'condescending and insulting' campaign targeted at increasing child attendance levels, refusing to pause the campaign in spite of protesters present at the Council meeting. 

Instead, Conservative Councillors congratulated themselves on a campaign well run and successful. 

Parents were appalled to receive a leaflet which called on them to 'Get a Grip' following the first half term of the academic year. Mother of two, Ella Lewis, took to Change.org to set up a petition calling for the removal of the campaign. The petition, which has amassed over 11,500 signatures, was handed into the East Sussex County Councillors on Tuesday 5th December 2017.

East Sussex County Council continues to reject calls from parents and Lib Dems to withdraw a 'condescending and insulting' campaign targeted at increasing child attendance levels, refusing to pause the campaign in spite of protesters present at the Council meeting,


Instead, Conservative Councillors congratulated themselves on a campaign well run and successful.

 

Parents were appalled to receive a leaflet which called on them to 'Get a Grip' following the first half term of the academic year. Mother of two, Ella Lewis, took to Change.org to set up a petition calling for the removal of the campaign. The petition, which has amassed over 11,500 signatures, was handed into the East Sussex County Councillors on Tuesday 5th December 2017.

The petition was accepted by East Sussex County Council following more than 20 parents turning up to demonstrate their unhappiness at the marketing campaign.

Ella Lewis, who instigated the petition said;
“The leaflet distributed to our school children was frankly offensive. 

“For Councillors to resolve that the campaign is well run is shocking. They are effectively saying the ends justify the means, and that a culture of fear and harassment is permitted if they achieve better attendance 

I, and 11,500 other parents, feel that East Sussex County Council's "Get a Grip" campaign for improving school attendance is aggressive, condescending, insulting, inappropriate for the purpose and will probably prove to be counterproductive.”

Speaking to the Council when submitting the petition, Ella Lewis said;
“I was outraged to see parents addressed in the tone of this campaign - with a total disregard to personal circumstance and a profound lack of respect. It is simply an unacceptable way for a
public body to address its constituents.”

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate Kelly-Marie Blundell, who narrowly missed out to Conservative Maria Caulfield in the June 2017 General Election, pulled together parents from across the county to demonstrate at the meeting.

“I'm firmly on the side of parents in this case. Insulting them is not going to improve attendance rates. I'm astounded the Conservatives feel that a campaign that has generated over 11,000 objections has in any way been considered successful.

“At a time when the MP for Lewes, Maria Caulfield, voted to cut local government spending by 44% and the council is making substantial cuts to services, should the council be spending over £10,000 on a literature campaign?”

Cllr Carolyn Lambert, Lib Dem member for Seaford South, submitted the motion of notice which called on East Sussex County Council to pause the marketing campaign and instead set up a Parents and Stakeholders working group who could work with the council to address attendance.

“The Council cannot deny that this campaign has significantly upset parents across the county. Just the strength of feeling outside today demonstrates this.

“We still feel the Council should pause the campaign, and instead set up a parents and stakeholders forum who can work with Councillors to identify reasons for poor attendance and address this so that neither children nor schools suffer in a positive way.

“Sadly the Conservatives rejected this proposal, another blow for parents who had hoped to work with the council constructively.”


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