Lib Dem County Councillor Carla Butler defends local school and wins!
At the full Council meeting of East Sussex County Council, Lib Dem County Councillor Carla Butler won the Council's backing to halt the closure of Rodmell Primary School and Pells Primary School.
Carla says “The parents, governing body, staff and protesters should be proud of their achievement of running an excellent campaign."
Cllr Butler successfully called for the schools to stay open and to stop the plans to close them at the end of the consultation period.
Carla Butler opened her speech by quoting Ofsted on Rodmell school “Rodmell Primary is a welcoming, inclusive community. Pupils of different ages get on well, happily playing and learning together.” She accused the Conservative Council of wanting to close a school that was rated as 'Good' in all areas by Ofsted. She went on to support the governors who had said that the county council has put into the public domain information which is biased and misleading. Carla said the governors and school have not been fairly represented.
She said “I am disappointed that the final consultation document was not shared with the school prior to going out in the public domain as some of the information could have challenged before”. She supported the governors in her speech saying that the school was now rated as good school moving towards outstanding!
With the help of the school, Carla’s forensic dismembering of the county council’s arguments continued when she said that it was not true that the school was in deficit, she said “had the county council run through the consultation document with the school beforehand they would have found that was actually a surplus in their budget and over the next 3 year period indicates a break even!
Carla said: "Sadly, because the county council operates on a ‘cabinet’ system this decision by all members of the Council can only be handled as a recommendation to a future Cabinet meeting. However it does have the effect of putting the Conservative controlled council under pressure."
Carla concluded her appeal to the members of the county council by saying: “I am very passionate that the closure of Rodmell School should be halted. "The proposed closure of both Pells and Rodmell Schools is a very sad thing to contemplate. Like the bus cuts in rural areas, closure of village shops, posts offices and pubs the closure of village schools is yet another nail in the coffin of the vibrancy of our lovely villages in the Downs. The effect of these cuts and closures just turns places like Rodmell into dormitory villages. I believe there is a future for Rodmell School. Vote to halt the closures and lets all work together to produce the best solution. “
The motion was supported across the chamber including support from the Liberal Democrat group led by Cllr David Tutt. Lewes Bridge Lib Dem County Councillor Rosalyn St Pierre also spoke with experience as a long-standing governor and County Councillor on this important issue.
There is still time to have your say here - please refer to the recent vote of the county council in your response!