Residents to give views on schools
MEMBERS of the public will be able to have their say in a review of the process that led to the controversial opening of Croft School.
Opposition political groups called for an independent review into Swindon Council’s procedures in opening and closing schools, which campaigners hope will shed light on the behind-the-scenes workings of the long-running Croft saga.
The primary school, next to the sports centre, off Marlborough Lane, opened to its first 60 reception pupils earlier this month amid controversy over the budget, building conditions and the demand for places.
In June this year, Swindon Council agreed a motion from the Lib Dems for the children and young people’s overview and scrutiny committee to establish a review panel.
And three independent people have been appointed to look at the closure of Northview Primary School in Highworth , in 2010, and the Croft School opening as test cases to find out whether the processes could be improved.
Now the group is set to take in the public’s views at a meeting at the Marriott Hotel, off Marlbor-ough Lane, at 6pm on Wednesday, September 26, with a view to publishing its recommendations by the end of December.
Coun Dave Wood (Eastcott, Lib Dem), who chaired the scrutiny committee which commissioned the review, said he would be at the meeting to listen to what the public had to say.
“My position really is now, with an independent review in place, very much at arms length,” he said.
“But I will be keen to observe anything that happens in public in respect of the review.”
Kareen Boyd, a campaigner against Croft School, said the views of residents of north Swindon and Highworth should be considered also.
She said: “I have asked the officer organising the meetings whether there will be meetings in north Swindon and Highworth. “This is not just about Croft but the opening and closing of schools in Swindon and I think people outside Old Town should be consulted.”
The independent panel, appointed by the children and young people’s overview and scrutiny committee, consists of Keith Carby, the former chairman of the council’s standards committee, David Dawson, a former secondary school headteacher and a member of the council’s new style standards committee, and Wendy Hall MBE, the former chief executive of the charity Family Mediation North Wiltshire.
The members of the review group will not be able to answer specific questions and are there only in a listening capacity.